Happy New Year

by Cherie Tucker

February 2014

It’s time for New Year’s Reminders.  We did talk about using the apostrophe with the New Year’s holiday before, but it’s been quite a while, and since both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day have come and gone and you might be asking people what they did to celebrate, here’s a quick review of how to do that correctly.  
 In Tony-Award winner Frank Loesser’s song, “What Are You Doing New Year’s,” the next line is “New Year’s Eve.”  Loesser reiterated what the question was simply to clarify that this was an invitation for the evening and not for a football game the next day.  
“New Year’s” always means the holiday when it’s written that way.  It’s capitalized, for one thing.  And whether or not there is the addition of the words “Eve” or “Day,” the implication is that there is another word, it was just left out.  
There was a TV commercial that ran on New Year’s Day that implored viewers to come to the “New Years Blowout” and save, save, save.  They left out the apostrophe, which was a blunder, not a saving.  The same rule holds for dialogue:
            “So,” he stammered, “would you like to spend New Year’s together?”
The reader knows what’s what here.  The capitalization and the apostrophe tell readers that you are writing about the holiday. Whether you are writing song lyrics, advertisements, or having your characters talking to one another about the holiday, the apostrophe must be there, and this particular holiday might be a good time to resolve not to forget that.


Cherie Tucker, owner of GrammarWorks, has taught writing basics to professionals since 1987, presenting at the PNWA conference.  She currently teaches Practical Grammar for Editors at the University of Washington’s Editing Certification program and edits as well. GrammarWorks@msn.com.

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