Confusing Possessives Revisited

As the second Sunday in May approaches, many of you may be wondering how to write the name of the holiday—is it Mother’s Day, Mothers’ Day, or Mothers Day? We first looked into the topic of where to properly place holiday apostrophes in a 2008 newsletter. Today we provide an update.

The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook list the following holidays as singular possessives: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day. CMOS uses plural possessive for Presidents’ Day, while AP Style writes Presidents Day. Both agree on no apostrophe in Veterans Day.

Your guess is as good as anyone’s about Secretary’s vs. Secretaries’ vs. Secretaries Day and Boss’s vs. Bosses’ vs. Bosses Day.

What would you do if we had a Children’s Day holiday? Because Children is an irregular plural (not formed by adding an s or es), you would have to use the apostrophe in the title because there is no such word as Childrens.

Example: Children’s Hospital

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