Q&A: New Year’s vs New Years

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Each week, we chat about the quirks and anomalies of the English language. This week, it’s a new year…

Q: Happy New Year AWC!
A: Thanks, and you too. May 2015 be filled with many more questions and answers.

Q: Absolutely! And on the subject of New Year’s – do I write it like that, with the apostrophe, as in “what did you do for New Year’s”?
A: Yeah, you do, because it’s been shortened from “New Year’s Eve” or “New Year’s Day” presumably. To say “New Years” implies a plural and makes no sense. If you WERE talking about multiple ones, we’d recommend “for the past three New Year’s Days, I’ve seen the sunrise”…

Q: And is it in caps?
A: Any time you are referring in some way to the day/eve/transition itself as a title, then yes you would capitalise New Year. But you wouldn’t when just speaking generically, such as “we’ll discuss your pay rise in the new year” or “it’s a new year and I’m feeling a little hungover”.

Q: What about New Year’s resolutions? Or is it New Year resolutions?
A: Good to see you dropped the capital R off ‘resolutions’ – although it can be okay in headlines. It’s usually the first one, “New Year’s resolutions”, as they belong to the ‘New Year’…although we wouldn’t bat many eyelids at the second one. Just don’t use “New Years resolutions” – that’s fifty shades of wrong. Speaking of which, do you have any resolutions?

Q: I’m going to be nicer to apostrophes in 2015.
A: A lovely gesture. They have a rough time.

Q: You?
A: Well, good question. We’re going to continue to provide Australia’s largest range of writing courses – inspiring students here and all around the globe (with our online courses) to achieve their writing goals…from being published to simply getting their story out of their heads. We’re excited about helping more writers to find their voice and change their story.

Q: Wow, I walked right into that self-promotional plug, didn’t I?
A: You did. You really really did.

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