It’s nearly Christmas time, and that means many things: time to set up a tree, to buy presents, and to start writing and sending Christmas cards. While you ready your card paper, collate your address books, and address your envelopes, allow us to give you a refresher on common grammar errors found in Christmas cards.
When pluralizing family names, remember that you only have to add s, unless your name ends in ch, sh, x, z, and of course, s. If it does, add es. For example, if your last name is Smith, its plural form is Smiths; if your last name is Reeves, its plural form is Reeveses.
Holiday greetings from the Smiths!
Merry Christmas from the Reeveses.
If you still get confused, you can always use “Greetings from the /blank/ family.”
Yes, there’s an apostrophe in there! The term “Season’s Greetings” is basically a shorter way to say “Greetings of the Season,” so following the basic rules of possession, “Season’s Greetings” is the correct form, not “Seasons Greetings.”
Again, this is the correct form. It’s not “And a Happy New Years” nor “And a Happy New Year’s.” The plural form cannot be applied in this context as there is only one New Year. The possessive form can be applied if and only if the phrase is followed by either “day” or “eve,” as in “New Year’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve.”
Capitalization can be a tricky thing, but as long as you capitalize the word “Christmas” and other proper nouns, you’ll be fine. If your card says something like “Wishing you a merry Christmas!” then there’s no need to capitalize the word “merry.” If the card says “Merry Christmas!” then the word “merry” is capitalized as it is the beginning of a sentence.
Before deciding to print a Christmas-y quote, read it over first, and make sure that the message is clear. For example, watch out for anything by Charles Dickens as he has the tendency to overdo commas, such as in this quote from A Christmas Carol:
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Opt for Christmas quotes that deliver a clear message along with the right amount of holiday cheer.
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