Writing for Business

May 12 2013   12:02PM GMT

Is it Mother’s Day, Mothers’ Day or Mothers Day?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
In honor of __________, we’ll be selling flowers in the lobby.
a. Mother’s Day
b. Mothers’ Day
c. Mothers Day

Answer: a.

Convention is that Mother’s Day is expressed as a singular possessive form. There’s really no single rule for writing the names of holidays, though. New Year’s Day is written the same way but some others — like April Fools’ Day, for example — are written as plural possessives. The thinking is probably that there can only be one Mother, but there are any number of fools.

According to this article from the Vancouver Sun, the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, “… was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.” Although she created the date in memory of her own mother, Ms. Jarvis never married or had children.

For more on Mother’s Day, see the Mashable topic.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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