Oh, I just love this time of year. Snow is falling, carolers are singing, Christmas tree’s are twinkling—wait, “Christmas tree’s”? Really?
Sorry to be the grammar grinch, folks, but I can’t help but feel a bit grouchy when faced with holiday-related misspellings and typos in ads, signs, and greeting cards. Just because we’re filled with cheer and goodwill (and eggnog) doesn’t mean we should abandon proper grammar and style.
Here are just a few of the grammatical errors I’ve encountered this holiday season:
Don’t get me wrong: I’m more than happy to give and receive warm greetings of the season—but only in a grammatically correct way. You see, the proper term is Season’s Greetings, with an apostrophe before the “s” signifying a possessive.
Christmas tree’s for sale
As we know from my post on the proper use of apostrophes, these marks are primarily used for forming possessives and indicating missing letters or numbers—neither of which apply to the sale of Christmas trees. Vendors beware: The next incorrect sign I encounter may end up with red editing marks!
New Years Eve
Reading about New Years Eve and New Years’ Eve celebrations makes me as sick as drinking too much champagne. Note to party promoters: It’s New Year’s Eve (and New Year’s Day).
Again, it’s that pesky apostrophe! When you’re addressing a Christmas card to a family of people with the last name Smith, you should address it to The Smiths. (The only time you’d use an apostrophe is if you’re addressing something belonging to the Smith family, and, in that case, you’d add the apostrophe after an “s,” as in “The Smiths’ dog.” But that would be weird. Why not just call her Riley?)
I suppose I should let this one go, since the term in question dates back to the 1400s and is rarely used these days. But, if you want to be grammatically correct, the proper spelling is ’Tis, with an apostrophe before the “t” to indicate the missing letter “i.” (’Tis is a contraction of “it is,” as in ’tis the season for good wishes and bad grammar.)
Season’s greetings, everyone!