Holiday Greetings… and the use of the apostrophe

Plurals of Last Names

It’s that time of year again—time to start preparing your holiday cards!

I tend to notice minor details that most people do not.  Blame my mother, she used to send back notes from teachers in red marker, oh the embarrassment.  A good friend of mine who also is a co-worker shares in this need to correct grammar and spelling mistakes, and working at a high school, believe me there are plenty.  Christmas cards are arriving in loved ones home daily, don’t be caught using an unnecessary apostrophe in your last name.  When used in this way your last name is meant to be plural, not possessive.



Here an unnecessary apostrophe has been added to the family’s last name. I’m sure you’ve received them too:

●  Happy Holidays- The Browns’s  (should be The Browns)

●  Season’s Greetings- The Ensmingers’ (should be The Ensmingers)

●  Happy Hanukkah- The Feldmans’  (should be The Feldmans)

●  Merry Christmas- The Thomassser’s  (should be The Thomassers)

In the examples above, the last names are not possessive, so they shouldn’t include apostrophes. The only time an apostrophe is required in a last name is when that person (or family) owns something:

●  Mrs. Browns’s truck (singular)  /  the Browns’ truck (plural)

●  Mr. Ensminger’s boat (singular)  /  the Ensmingers’ boat (plural)

●  Miss Feldman’s dog (singular)  /  the Feldmans’ dog (plural)

●  Dr. Hastings’ pool (singular)  /  the Hastings’ pool (plural)

As you sit down to write your holiday cards this year, I hope this tip serves as a friendly reminder to refrain from adding an apostrophe to your family’s last name.

The “Grammar Nazi” on your list will thank you. Happy Holidays!


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