Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

April Fool’s Day

with 3 comments

Veterans Day poster issued by the U.S.
Image via Wikipedia

This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.

Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson

This is an official April Fool’s Day post. But you don’t have to spot the joke, just the apostrophe. In common with many special days, the apostrophe usually comes before the ‘s’. For example:

  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • New Year’s Eve
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • St. George’s Day
  • St. David’s Day
  • St. Andrew’s Day

N.B. April Fools’ Day (with the apostrophe after the ‘s’) is also acceptable.

Veterans Day

There are exceptions. In America, for example, the government has decreed that ‘Veterans Day’ should be spelt without any apostrophe, although it is commonly seen written as ‘Veteran’s Day’ or ‘Veterans’ Day’.

Interesting post on Mother’s Day

Find out more about the possessive apostrophe

User-friendly guides to punctuation


3 Responses

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  1. Ha! Well done you. Though I am in general a big fan of simplifying and shortening English, I do not see how “Veterans” can be an adjective and not a possessive. But my govt has spoken.

    We also use Presidents’ Day*, but Columbus Day. And you will see many foolish variations of the holiday spellings, including April Fools’ Day.

    *Washington’s birthday; you also see “President’s Day” and (ugg) “Presidents Day.”

    Michael Farrell

    01/04/2010 at 2:30 pm

    • Yes, ‘Veterans Day’ looks a little strange to me too. I was probably being a little too strict by saying that ‘April Fool’s Day takes the apostrophe before the ‘s’, and have amended this post accordingly. I think it’s also acceptable after the ‘s’. However, I personally prefer the former.


      01/04/2010 at 7:20 pm

      • Agreed. But it’s far from settled.

        Michael Farrell

        01/04/2010 at 7:47 pm

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