February 19 2012

Presidents and apostrophes

by Barbie in Grammar

If you’re like me, your inbox has been full of Presidents’ Day sales this week.  While the deals might be consistent, one thing is not: the apostrophes:

ShopRunner says no apostrophe.

Ann Taylor Loft says it's plural possessive.

And Macy's, via EBates, uses singular possessive.

So, where does the apostrophe go in Presidents’ Day — or is there an apostrophe at all? It depends on who you ask. The AP Stylebook uses no possessive on the term — Presidents Day — citing many state governments that have adopted this style. The Chicago Manual of Style uses plural possessive: Presidents’ Day.

The holiday celebrates more than one president, so my preference is plural possessive as well. However, both non-possessive and plural possessive are generally accepted. Just stay away from singular possessive, and you’re safe.

Enjoy your Presidents’ (or is that Presidents?) Day!