“Fathers Day” vs. “Father’s Day”: What’s The Correct Way For Celebrating Dad?

We all know what Father’s Day is: the one day of the year where we take time to recognize how special dads are. Of course, we can do that every other day of the year, too! Another thing we can do every day is make sure to use apostrophes correctly. Apostrophes are a particularly tricky bit of punctuation, and one of them seems to have gotten into a little accident in the name of dad’s special day. (We were waiting for him after the S, but somehow he wound up at the “ER.” Let’s hope for a speedy recovery. From our groan-worthy dad joke.)

Dad jokes aside, Father’s Day is actually the grammatically correct name of this holiday, which is celebrated every year in the United States on the third Sunday in June. In 2023, it falls on June 18. Before you go shopping for a gift, you can learn a little more about this special day and why we punctuate it the way we do.

What is the origin of Father’s Day?

We can trace the beginnings of Father’s Day back to 1910, when the very first Father’s Day was held thanks to a campaign by Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd was inspired by the celebrations of the newly created Mother’s Day and thought dads deserved their own day, too. Dodd’s new Father’s Day would slowly grow in popularity and would become an official holiday much later in 1972.

If you’d like to know a lot more about Father’s Day and its long history, check out our thorough explanation of it at its own page in our dictionary.

Where to place the apostrophe in Father’s Day

Father’s Day places the apostrophe before the S, just like other holidays such as New Year’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. However, the reason that we do this for Father’s Day seems to be because of the precedent set by Mother’s Day. Hey, even Dad will tell you to always listen to your mother.

Mother’s Day uses a possessive singular because its founder, Anna Jarvis, specifically wanted it that way. Jarvis wanted Mother’s Day to be a time when each family honored their own specific mother, so the name reflected that. Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by Jarvis’s holiday when she created her own, and it appears that the punctuation also followed in Mother’s Day’s footsteps. By using an apostrophe before the S, the name of Father’s Day indicates that it is more about honoring each individual father than about celebrating fathers in general.

How to write a fantastic, foolproof Father’s Day Card

If you’d like to impress your dad with amazing grammar and write a heartfelt Father’s Day card at the same time, Thesaurus.com’s Grammar Coach™ can help you out. Grammar Coach™ will give you all of the punctuation advice you need to honor Dad on his special day and will help you remember the correct names of other holidays like Veterans’ Day or April Fools’ Day.

As we all know, fathers and father figures hold special places in all of our lives. They care for us and guide us through life—and we all know our own father is The World’s Greatest Dad. Grammar Coach™ can suggest some cool synonyms for father, including dad, daddy, papa, padre, or you can use some other fun names such as daddy-o.

Grammar Coach™ and its reliable Synonym Swapper don’t stop there, though. They can also provide you with synonyms for spectacular, incredible, wonderful, and phenomenal that describe how amazing you know that your dad is! But wait, there’s more! If you need help writing that perfect Father’s Day card, we have just what you need. Our how-to guide to Father’s Day cards will provide you with all of the tools to make sure your card knocks Dad’s newly gifted socks off, such as the best ways to show appreciation and how to finish with an unforgettable sign-off.

Learn more about the rules and uses of the apostrophe.

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