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Are Your Holiday Cards Grammatically Correct?

Learn the proper way to pluralize family names and add punctation to cards just in time for the holiday season!

By
Mignon Fogarty

christmas card grammar

The Churches, the Foxes, and the Marshes

I was deluged with questions after last week's newsletter about making names plural. As requested, here are more examples:

Add "es" to make names that end in "ch," "sh," "x," "s," and "z" plural:

  • The Churches hope to see you this year.

  • The Ashes have a wonderful tree.

  • The Foxes are bringing a ham.

  • The Joneses invite you to dinner.

  • Season's greetings from the Alvarezes.

I couldn't find a reference that covered making names that end in "i" plural. The best I could find is that you usually add "s" to make foreign words that end with "i" plural when using them in English:

  • Narnia was hit by three tsunamis. (foreign word example)

  • Bob Curti and his children--all the Curtis--will join us for brunch. (possible plural name example)

Only use apostrophes to make names possessive:

  • The Churches' house has lights on the chimney.

  • Bob Smith's pumpkin pie is the best in the neighborhood.

What's the Right Punctuation?

Now that you've figured out how to address your holiday cards, do you know which punctuation to use?

The Quick and Dirty Tip is that you use a comma after "Hi" and no comma after "Dear":

  • Hi, Sarah and Todd.

  • Dear Barack and Michelle,

For more on holiday card grammar, see my longer article on the subject.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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