'Valentines Day' or 'Valentine's Day': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on December 13, 2022

Should you spell ‘Valentine’s Day’ with or without the apostrophe? What’s the difference between the two spellings? We’ll cover that in this article, plus teach you how to use the phrase in a sentence.

Don’t feel like waiting for the answer? Here’s the short answer:

The only correct way to write the phrase is ‘Valentine’s Day.’ The spelling without the apostrophe is incorrect and ungrammatical. Therefore, you should avoid using it in your writing.

Which is Correct – Happy Valentines Day or Happy Valentine’s Day?

So, now that you know the correct spelling of the phrase, you know that the correct way to write out the phrase is with the apostrophe.

Apostrophe Tips

Using an apostrophe generally shows ownership. In the case of Valentine’s Day, we are talking about an actual person (mythical), so this rule still applies.

If the noun doesn’t end in ‘s,’ add an apostrophe.

If the noun is plural and ends in ‘s,’ you’d only add the apostrophe.

A Quick History on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is pretty mysterious when it comes to its origins. However, we know that the holiday has elements of both Christianity and ancient Roman traditions.

The holiday is named for St. Valentine, and some say that he was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Once marriage was outlawed for young men (because it made them better soldiers if they weren’t married and didn’t have families), St. Valentine supposedly continued marrying couples against the orders of Emperor Claudius II.

Other stories suggest that St. Valentine might have been killed for trying to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons. The legend says that while in prison, Valentine sent the first “valentine” after falling in love with a young girl.

Definition and Meaning  

Before we define the term as a whole, let’s break it down and define each word.

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘valentine’ is: “a sweetheart chosen or complimented on Valentine’s Day,” “a gift or greeting sent or given especially to a sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, especially: a greeting card sent on this day,” and “something (such as a movie or piece of writing) expressing uncritical praise or affection: a tribute.”

The same dictionary defines ‘day’ as: “the time of light between one night and the next,” “daylight,” “daytime,” and “the period of rotation of a planet (such as the earth) or a moon on its axis,” “the mean solar day of 24 hours beginning at midnight by meantime,” “a specified day or date,” “a specified time or period: age,” “the conflict or contention of the day,” “the time established by usage or law for work, school, or business.”

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘valentine’s day’ is: “February 14 observance in honor of St. Valentine and as a time for sending valentines.”

How to Use ‘Valentine’s Day’ in a Sentence

Now that you know more about the phrase and the history behind it let’s take a look at how to use it in a sentence correctly.

  • My boyfriend’s taking me to a specialty bakery for Valentine’s Day.
  • I hate Valentine’s Day. I never have a date.
  • I got a ton of messages on Valentine’s Day last year asking me to go out.
  • Every year, I end up alone on Valentine’s Day. Why is that?
  • Where are you taking me for Valentine’s Day this year, honey?
  • We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day at home this year to save money.

Final Advice on ‘Valentine’s Day’

Since you learned that the only way to spell the phrase correctly is with the apostrophe, you can start using the phrase correctly in your writing.

If you ever forget, you can always come back for a visit to refresh your memory. We’ve got a ton of other content that can help you with confusing words and phrases you might come across while learning the language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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