Happy holidays from the Miller's? How not to mess up holiday greetings

Sending out holiday greetings this year? Christmas cards, emails, posts on the family Facebook page and party invitations are all wonderful opportunities to embarrass yourself with punctuation and grammar mistakes. So here, continuing my annual tradition, is the 2022 edition of the most common holiday greeting grammar flubs and how to avoid them.

Wrong: Happy holidays from the Miller’s! Right: the Millers. If your last name ends with any letter other than S, Z, X, Ch or Sh, make it plural by just adding S. No apostrophe. Two people named Miller are the Millers. Three people named Smith are the Smiths.

Wrong: Happy holidays from the Ricci’s. Right: the Riccis. A name that ends in a vowel may look weird with an S at the end, but that’s no excuse to add an apostrophe. If your last name is D’Angelo, two of your family members are D’Angelos.

Wrong: Happy holidays from the Jones’, the Ramirez’s or the French’s. Right: Joneses, Ramirezes, Frenches. Seeing a theme here? No matter the name, you should never use an apostrophe to make it plural. These names work just like common nouns ending in S, Z, X, Ch and Sh, which add ES to form the plural — bosses, blintzes, axes, marches, marshes. So two Ramirezes, no apostrophe.

Wrong: We’re visiting the Miller’s house, the Ricci’s house, the Williams’ house, the Jones’s house, the Ramirez’s house or the French’s house. Right: The Millers’, Riccis’, Williamses’, Joneses’, Ramirezes’, Frenches’. Unlike plurals, possessives actually do take apostrophes. But when you’re talking about something that’s owned by more than one person, like a house, first make it plural — one Williams, two Williamses — then add the possessive apostrophe at the end: the Williamses’ house.

Here's more in my recent column.

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