Happy New Year, New Year’s, or New Years? Which Is Correct?

Marcus Froland

Every December 31st, people all around the globe gear up to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one. With fireworks lighting up the sky and resolutions being made, there’s also a common dilemma that pops up in conversations, texts, and social media posts. It revolves around how to correctly convey wishes for the year ahead. Is it Happy New Year, New Year’s, or New Years? The confusion is real and widespread.

This tiny yet significant detail often leads to a mix of corrections and second-guessing among friends, family, and colleagues. But why does such a simple greeting come with its own set of rules? And more importantly, which version is the right one to use when you’re sending out your heartfelt wishes for someone’s next 365 days? As we inch closer towards unraveling this conundrum, keep in mind that the answer might just surprise you.

When it comes to greeting someone for the start of January, you might wonder how to spell it right. The correct way to write it is “Happy New Year” when you’re wishing someone well. If you’re talking about the holiday itself, you should say “New Year’s Day” because it refers to the day that belongs to the New Year. However, “New Years” is often used informally when people talk about the holiday season in general, but it’s not grammatically correct in formal writing. So, stick with “Happy New Year” for greetings and “New Year’s Day” when referring to the holiday.

Understanding the Grammar: The Role of Apostrophes in Holiday Language

Apostrophes play a crucial role in holiday language, as they help indicate possession. In the context of New Year celebrations, the use of apostrophes is particularly important for distinguishing specific events and aspects of the holiday. Let’s explore some common examples where apostrophes come into play in holiday language:

  1. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day: The apostrophe in these phrases represents the “Eve of the New Year” and “Day of the New Year” respectively.
  2. New Year’s resolution: Here, the apostrophe indicates that the resolution belongs to or is associated with the upcoming New Year.
  3. New Year’s party: In this phrase, the apostrophe shows that the party is held in celebration of the New Year.

When discussing plans around the holiday without specifying the day or eve, “New Year’s” can still stand alone with the implied possession, though more specificity in communication is advised.

Pro Tip: Remember to use an apostrophe when talking about aspects belonging to the New Year’s Eve or Day celebrations, such as “New Year’s fireworks.”

Unlike some other holidays like “Veterans Day,” which does not use an apostrophe, “New Year’s” follows a different rule set due to the possessive nature of the events celebrated. To gain a deeper understanding of these rules, let’s take a look at a comparison table:

Holiday Apostrophe Use Explanation
New Year’s Yes The apostrophe indicates possession since the events and aspects of the holiday (Eve and Day) are owned by the New Year.
Veterans Day No Veterans Day is named in honor of all military veterans, but it does not pertain to a specific ownership or possession and hence does not require an apostrophe.
Thanksgiving No Thanksgiving is a compound word, and there is no ownership or possession indicated, hence an apostrophe is not required.

Understanding the role of the apostrophe in holiday grammar, particularly in the context of New Year celebrations, helps you communicate more clearly and accurately. Always remember to use an apostrophe when talking about aspects related to New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, and avoid using one when discussing the holiday in broader terms.

When to Say “Happy New Year” – The Correct Festive Greeting

The arrival of a new year marks a time for celebration, resolutions, and making new plans. Whatever your midnight celebration may be, impress your friends and colleagues with your impeccable grammar. Read on to learn the right way to say “Happy New Year” and the reasoning behind proper capitalization and writing conventions.

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Capitalization and Context: Greeting Someone at the Stroke of Midnight

When wishing someone a “Happy New Year,” capitalize both the “H” and the “N.” This applies whether you utter it aloud or write it down since it refers to the specific occasion of beginning a new year. The same rule applies to other greetings such as “Happy Birthday!” or “Congratulations!” when used in exclamatory statements.

However, when referring to the year in general terms as in “the new year,” there’s no need for capitalization or an apostrophe. For example:

  • I have plans for the new year.
  • I always make resolutions for the new year.

Common Misconceptions: Why “Happy New Year’s” Is Incorrect

A prevalent greeting misconception is using “Happy New Year’s” instead of the correct phrase, “Happy New Year.” The reason for this mistake might be the association between “New Year’s” and the names of the holidays, “New Year’s Eve” and “New Year’s Day.”

However, “Happy New Year’s” is incorrect because there is no omission of letters requiring an apostrophe. There is also no possessive association, such as the events belonging to a certain New Year’s Eve or Day. The proper greeting celebrates the event of entering the forthcoming year.

So remember, when the clock strikes midnight and the celebrations commence, wish your loved ones a “Happy New Year” with confidence.

Dissecting “New Year’s” – When the Apostrophe Takes the Stage

Using an apostrophe in the holiday phrase “New Year’s” may sometimes be perplexing, but it follows a set of grammatical rules that denote possession. In this section, we will explore the usage of “New Year’s” as a possessive term, focusing on its relationship with New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the concept of holiday traditions like setting goals in the form of New Year’s resolutions.

When referring to New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, the apostrophe in “New Year’s” describes the possession of these two specific holidays, serving as a shorthand that illustrates ownership over key elements of the New Year’s festivities. With this in mind, let’s go deeper into how “New Year’s” applies in different holiday contexts:

  1. New Year’s Eve – The possessive use of the apostrophe signifies that Eve is an event occurring on the evening of the New Year, such as in “The annual New Year’s Eve party is on December 31st.”
  2. New Year’s Day – With a similar function, the apostrophe indicates that Day is an event happening on the New Year, like in “People often enjoy a special brunch on New Year’s Day.”

Decoding Possession: How New Year’s Applies to Eve and Day

“New Year’s Eve is less than a month away, and Jane is already planning a fabulous celebration.”

In the example above, the possessive apostrophe in “New Year’s” clearly refers to the Eve of the New Year – December 31. This possessive usage highlights the holiday’s ownership of the evening, distinguishing it from other days of the year.

“After staying up all night, Sam decided to sleep in on New Year’s Day.”

Similarly, the apostrophe in “New Year’s Day” interprets as the Day of the New Year – January 1. This possessive usage sets the day apart from any standard day, attributing it to the commencement of the new year.

Expressing Belonging: Why We Say “New Year’s Resolutions”

A significant aspect of New Year’s celebrations is setting goals or resolutions for the upcoming year. Referred to as “New Year’s resolutions,” this phrase also employs the possessive apostrophe, emphasizing the ownership of the New Year over those resolutions. The apostrophe in “New Year’s” modifies the noun “resolutions,” expressing possession and belonging. Similarly, terms like “New Year’s outfits” or “New Year’s brunch” follow this pattern, denoting a relationship between the object or event and the holiday.

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So, next time the holiday season approaches, you’ll be equipped with a better understanding of New Year’s possessive usages and feel confident in expressing ownership and belonging in your festive communications.

Writing About the Holiday: Is “New Year” Always Capitalized?

When it comes to holiday writing and language rules, knowing when to capitalize “New Year” is crucial. The term “New Year” is not always capitalized, as its usage depends on the context. In certain sentences and references, proper nouns like “New Year’s Eve” require capitalization. Understanding the nuances of capitalization will ensure your writing adheres to linguistic conventions. To clarify, let’s look at some examples:

Capitalization should be applied when referring to the holiday or a specific event:

  • Happy New Year
  • New Year’s Eve
  • New Year’s Day

However, when discussing the year in a non-specific context or mentioning activities or plans related to the new year, capitalization is not used:

  • I have plans for the new year
  • new opportunities arise each new year

Becoming familiar with these guidelines ensures you use capitalization correctly in any holiday writing. By doing so, you’ll maintain a professional tone when discussing New Year celebrations.

The Myth of “Happy New Years” – Why Adding the ‘S’ Is a No-No

One of the most common misconceptions associated with the New Year celebration is the use of the phrase “Happy New Years.” This incorrect greeting arises from misunderstanding the concept of singular vs. plural in the celebration context. As we celebrate the arrival of only one new year at a time, adding the ‘S’ mistakenly implies multiple new years. In this section, we will address why this pluralization is incorrect and provide clarity on the proper usage of New Year expressions.

Understanding Singular vs. Plural in the Celebration Context

To gain a stronger understanding of why “Happy New Years” is incorrect, let’s examine the differences between singular and plural forms in the context of New Year celebrations.

Singular: Refers to only one instance of something. For New Year’s, this would mean celebrating a single transition from the old year to the new one.

Plural: Refers to multiple instances of something. In this context, it would mean celebrating several years’ worth of New Year’s events, which is not the case when we greet each other at the start of the year.

When you send a New Year greeting, you celebrate the beginning of a single new year. Though you may be wishing for a prosperous year ahead, the plural ‘s’ implies multiple new years, which is erroneous. Instead, using the phrase “Happy New Year” is correct, as it emphasizes the singular event of entering the forthcoming year.

However, there is one instance when using “New Years” without an apostrophe can be correct. If you are discussing several instances of the holiday occurring across multiple years, you could use “New Years” in a phrase like “the last ten New Years,” highlighting the collection of individual New Year’s celebrations.

“New Year’s” vs. “New Year” – Choosing the Right Phrase for Every Situation

Understanding when to use “New Year’s” and “New Year” can be confusing, but it is essential to know the difference to ensure proper holiday expressions. To help you choose the correct phrase for various situations, consider the following guidelines:

1. Use “New Year’s” when referring to a specific holiday or related event:

  • New Year’s Eve
  • New Year’s Day
  • New Year’s resolutions
  • New Year’s party

In these cases, the apostrophe conveys possession, as the events or objects belong to or are associated with the specific holiday of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

2. Use “New Year” without an apostrophe as a holiday greeting or when discussing the year in general terms:

  • Happy New Year (holiday greeting)
  • Plans for the new year (general reference)
  • Opportunities in the new year (broadly speaking)
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When discussing plans or talking about the forthcoming year in general, there is no need for an apostrophe since it doesn’t refer to the ownership or specific events of the holiday.

To further illustrate the differences between “New Year’s” and “New Year,” the following table provides examples of holiday expressions in various contexts:

Expression Explanation
Happy New Year Greeting, no apostrophe needed, capitalized
New Year’s resolutions Goals for the upcoming year, apostrophe indicates possession
Plans for the new year Activities and goals for the year, no possession or specific event, no capitalization
New Year’s Eve party Event associated with the holiday, apostrophe conveys possession

By understanding the proper usage of “New Year’s” and “New Year” in various contexts, you can confidently express your thoughts and convey holiday greetings without hesitation. Remember, “New Year’s” is situation-specific and often implies possession, while “New Year” is used in greetings and broad references to the upcoming year. With these distinctions in mind, you can navigate the many nuances of holiday language with ease.

Clearing the Confusion: Solidify Your Understanding of New Year Language

As we approach the end of the year, it’s time to clear any confusion surrounding holiday language and gain clarity on the proper usage and terminology related to the New Year celebrations. By understanding the correct ways to use “New Year,” “New Year’s,” and “new years,” you’ll be well-prepared to embrace the forthcoming New Year’s festivities.

New Year’s is the appropriate term to use when discussing the holidays themselves and matters directly associated with them. For instance, when you talk about New Year’s parties, New Year’s resolutions, or events that occur on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, always include an apostrophe.

On the other hand, New Year without an apostrophe should be used to convey greetings or when referring to the upcoming year in general terms. Examples include:

  • Happy New Year!
  • What are your goals for the New Year?
  • We plan to travel more in the New Year.

When it comes to new years, the pluralization refers to several occurrences of the holiday; however, this term should not be used for the annual celebration.

Remember: “New Year’s” is for matters explicitly related to the holidays, “New Year” is for greetings or general references to the upcoming year, and “new years” denotes multiple instances of the holiday.

By clarifying these New Year terminology distinctions and understanding their correct usage, you’ll have a stronger command of holiday language and boost your overall grammar skills. Now, go ahead and tackle those New Year celebrations with newfound confidence and linguistic expertise!

Ring in the New Year with Confidence in Your Language Use

As you celebrate the transition into the new year, ensure your holiday greetings and conversations are both joyous and grammatically on point. By understanding the proper usage and differences between “New Year,” “New Year’s,” and “new years,” you can confidently express your well wishes and discuss your plans for the coming days.

When the clock strikes midnight, remember that the correct phrase to use is “Happy New Year.” To demonstrate your mastery of holiday language, keep in mind that “New Year’s” should only be used when referring to possessions or associations specific to New Year’s Eve or Day, such as “New Year’s resolutions” or “New Year’s party.”

Armed with these grammar skills, you can enjoy your New Year celebrations to the fullest, impressing family and friends with your language confidence. So, go ahead and ring in the New Year, knowing that not only are you ready to embrace new opportunities and challenges in the upcoming year, but also your holiday language is sure to impress.

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