Every year, we pay tribute to our fathers on the day known as 'Father's Day.' Or is it 'Fathers' Day?' If you're wondering how to spell it, look no further. In this article, we'll learn the correct spelling for the annual holiday and why it's written that way.
If you just want the quick version, here it is:
Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and father figures, including grandfathers, stepfathers, and foster fathers, as well as the influence of fathers in society. It is observed in various countries around the world, although the date may differ.
In the United States, Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June each year. The idea for Father's Day is credited to Sonora Smart Dodd, who wanted to create a day to honor fathers like her own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran and single parent who raised six children. She had been inspired by the recently created Mother's Day.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father's Day a federal holiday. It is a time for children to express their love and appreciation for their fathers or father figures. This can be done through various means, such as giving cards, gifts, or spending quality time together. It is also common for families to organize special activities or meals to celebrate the occasion.
A quick lesson on apostrophes is in order to understand why Father's Day is spelled the way it is. Don't worry; I'll keep it short and sweet.
An apostrophe can do two things:
It's that second purpose that we're going to talk about now. There are two types of possessive nouns: singular and plural. They both show ownership or a relationship between two people/things. But the difference is that with a singular possessive noun, the ownership is to a single person or thing, whereas with a plural possessive noun, the ownership is to multiple people or things. Let's look at some examples:
Now we understand better the difference between father's and fathers: one is a singular possessive noun, and one is a plural possessive noun. So which one should you use? Technically, they both make sense grammatically. The day can belong to a single father or to all fathers.
Because it's their name, they can spell it how they like.
The deal with Father's Day is that the word 'father' was intended to be a singular possessive noun to show that the day belongs to each family's individual father. In that way, they followed the same tradition as Mother's Day, which is also a singular possessive noun. That's why we spell it Father's Day.
Another alternative spelling that we sometimes see is Fathers Day, without any apostrophe. When you spell it like that, it's no longer a possessive noun. It's just a simple plural noun. It's grammatically incorrect to spell it this way because it doesn't make any sense. If we wanted to use the plural noun fathers, we would have to change the sentence structure.
Here are some examples:
Today is a day to celebrate all fathers.
We should celebrate all fathers on this day.
They wished their fathers a great day.
As far as capitalization goes, the rule is pretty straightforward: always capitalize proper nouns. A national holiday is considered a proper noun, and Father's Day is considered a national holiday, so the words should be capitalized when you use them together.
If you use the words separately, that's a different story. The term 'father' on its own isn't a proper noun, and neither is 'day.'
Here are some examples of these words used as common nouns:
Every father looks forward to spending quality time with their children on this special day.
She decided to organize a picnic to celebrate her father's day off from work.
He decided to take the day off, and his children happily joined him for a spontaneous adventure.
Now that we've covered the proper use of apostrophes and when to capitalize the words, let's look at some examples of the term Father's Day in sentences.
Here they are:
We're planning a special surprise for dad on Father's Day.
Father's Day is a time to celebrate and appreciate the important men in our lives.
I head back to my parents' house every year for Father's Day and Mother's Day.
On Father's Day, we traditionally exchange gifts and share a special meal together.
She made dinner while her dad relaxed on Father's Day.
That brings us to the end of this article about this popular holiday. Let's summarize what we've learned:
If you'd like to learn about more national holidays and how to spell them correctly, check out our dedicated blog. There, you'll find many other articles like this one, where you can learn how to spell holiday names correctly.