Happy Father's Day -- a Grammar Rant

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 16th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/32oz04hv/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Happy Father's Day is correct. Happy Fathers Day is acceptable. Happy day to all the father's out there is not. Learn why.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day is correct because there is one day held specially for fathers in terms of a holiday. The same situation occurs with Mother's Day, April Fool's Day, and New Year's Day.
But when the plural form is meant, no 's is required. To wish all the fathers in the world anything, one simply adds an s to the single form, father, and continues on his or her merry way.

Happy Fathers Day

If one were to write Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there, this would be fine. Christmas Day, Earth Day, Thanksgiving Day are all correct terms, where the two words have been put together and the preposition, either "of" or "for," has been removed.
Christmas Day -- Day of/for Christmas
Earth Day -- Day of/for Earth
Thanksgiving Day -- Day of/for Thanksgiving, or giving thanks

The problem...

I have a problem when someone writes, "Happy day to all the father's out there." There's a word missing. An 's has two possibilities: is and possession. The sentence above satisfies neither, see?
Happy day to all the father is out there. -- makes no sense.
Happy day to all the father's (object to be possessed by father) out there. -- there's a word missing. Father's what? Dogs? Baseball leagues? Wives?

Some will tell me to get over myself, but once mechanics of the apostrophe are understood, the mistakes are hard to make and harder to ignore. And as difficult as it is for people to switch keyboards to add 's on smart phones, I'm surprised so many intelligent people go to the extra effort to be confusing or wrong.

Tags

English, English Grammar, English Writers, Fathers, Fathers Day, Grammar, Mechanics, Punctuation

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

Share this page

moderator Peter B. Giblett moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
16th Jun 2013 (#)

Actually in my humble opinion there is only one way to handle the day given to fathers and mothers, and this is as follows:

Mothers' day is in May and
Fathers' day is in June.

The day belongs to multiple mothers and fathers therefore the apostrophe MUST be added after the pluralised word and this is the only acceptable form.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
16th Jun 2013 (#)

HaHa! Well, we know what is said about the English language and absolutes!! But thanks for your comment -- I would agree that this is an acceptable form, but not the only acceptable one!! Have a great Father(')s' Day! ;)

Reply to this comment

author avatar philpalm
17th Jun 2013 (#)

A lot of men would think hard what is a good day for fathering;).

But if the job is Being a father (supporting the wife and kids) then it is technically Father's day where being a father is understood.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks, philpalm, for weighing in. Though by that accounting, every day might be a father's day -- or a mother's. ;)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Terry Trainor
17th Jun 2013 (#)

A very simple rule I use is the belong to rule.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Terry Trainor
17th Jun 2013 (#)

Great piece, I think I'm going to learn a lot reading your pages. Thank you Phyl.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Jun 2013 (#)

Et en deux langues, n'est ce pas? (Je regret que mon français n'est pas optimal.) But you are right, it is a good, simple rule. I have found that in studying other languages, I understand English so much better. I just wish I could speak and write better on the fly rather than relying on translators -- qui est plus difficile dans le moment, no?

Reply to this comment

author avatar Terry Trainor
17th Jun 2013 (#)

Your French is fine, translations from most languages seem to lose something, my simple rule for 'la and le' La is on top of something and le is under. It doesn't always work but it's a good rule of thumb.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Delicia Powers
17th Jun 2013 (#)

Very good...clever write- enjoyed the lesson and twinkle in your eye when you were writing it..you must be be a fab teacher, thanks Phyl...:0)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks Terry and Delicia. If I am a good teacher, it is because I am open to everything everyone teaches me everyday.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password