For Your Mom Only: The Spelling of Mother’s Day

[This is the latest weekly post from our intern, Tessa. You can find all her posts here.

Let’s go there. Apostrophes.

I’ve seen so many misplaced apostrophes in my life. Contractions and abbreviations aren’t usually the problem. Most people understand that when cannot becomes can’t and about becomes ‘bout, that little floating comma comes into play.

It’s apostrophes’ possessive function that usually causes confusion. The reason? Based on whether a word is plural or singular, the positioning of the apostrophe changes. For example, if I were talking about only one apostrophe in the first sentence of this paragraph, apostrophes’ would become apostrophe’s. This causes a lot of questions. What happens if singular word ends in s? (Answer: Still add ‘s to the end). What happens if the plural doesn’t end in s? (Answer: Same thing: add ‘s).

These variables seem to cause other issues. Apostrophes show up where they don’t belong at all. For a thorough yet quick guide on proper apostrophe use, visit Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips: Apostrophe Catastrophe.

Anyway, back to the original purpose of this post: Mother’s Day is this Sunday May 11th! Believe it or not, the apostrophe in this holiday is intentionally placed. Mother’s Day was created in its singular possessive form as an indication that each and every mother should be individually honored.

Since so many mothers are celebrated on this day, yes, it technically should be Mothers’ Day. But there’s something sweet about the idea of giving each mother her very own special day. We all know they deserve it. So, happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

My beautiful Mama and me.

 

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