My lovely friend Jenny suggested I address proper holiday card punctuation for this week's Writing Wednesday post, and I was happy to oblige. While I've written about this in the past, it's always good to have another reminder.
So. Here's a quick recap on apostrophes: They're used to show omission (as in contractions like can't or don't), clarification (do's as opposed to dos in do's and don'ts) and possession. However, apostrophes are never used to make a word plural, especially names.
If I were sending out holiday cards this year, I would avoid these three errors. By the way, I'm using my last name as an example, but this is in no way a slam on anyone who shares the name! :)
- Happy holidays from the Wilcox's! Remember, apostrophes make something possessive, not plural. This would only be correct if I followed it with something that belongs to us, like our mailbox or our plant or our home — and that would be weird. Instead, I would make Wilcox plural by adding an es (it follows the same rule as fox or box) and write it like this: Happy holidays from the Wilcoxes! If you're unsure about how to make your family name plural, check out Grammar Girl's fabulous article.
- Merry Christmas from the Wilcox Family! While this is better — and I would recommend writing your last name and family if you can't figure out the right way to make your name plural — there's no need to capitalize the word family. Reserve capitalization for proper nouns and the first word in a sentence. It distracts people from your message instead of adding emphasis.
- Come to a holiday party at the Wilcox's home! If I lived alone and often referred to myself by my last name, this might be correct. But since I'm married, I need to make my last name plural and possessive. The correct way to do this is to add an es and then an s' to the end, so that it looks like this: Come to a holiday party at the Wilcoxes' home! I realize that this looks REALLY weird, so I would probably just go the Wilcox home route and avoid all the plurals and possessives, but this would be the correct way to write it.
I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, even if they're specifics about how to make your name plural/possessive, just leave a comment or send me an email! I'm happy to give you some advice.