“Mothers Day” vs. “Mother’s Day”: What’s The Correct Way For Celebrating Mom?

As we all know, Mother’s Day is the holiday where we let our moms know how special they are. But do you know how to correctly punctuate the name of this day? The apostrophe can be the mother of all hard-to-use punctuation marks, and it seems to be hanging around the wrong place.

Why is the apostrophe so often up to no good? Didn’t it listen to its mother growing up—wait, does an apostrophe have a mother?

Important questions aside, Mother’s Day is the grammatically correct name of this day, and you will make your mom proud of your grammar skills once you learn more about why. In 2021, Mother’s Day is celebrated in the United States and several other countries, such as Australia and Italy, on May 9 (the second Sunday in May). So, remember to give her a call on that day—but not about apostrophes! After all, you won’t need help with using them after you learn how we handle the apostrophe in Mother’s Day.

Learn more about the history of Mother’s Day at our article on the holiday itself.

Where to place the apostrophe in Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, as with other such holidays as Father’s Day, New Year’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day, places the apostrophe before the SMother’s Day is an interesting case, though, because its creator Anna Jarvis actually insisted on this particular punctuation placement. Jarvis wanted the day to use a singular possessive to highlight that the day should be dedicated to each family honoring their particular mother.

The apostrophe placement we use signals exactly what Jarvis wanted. If the holiday was instead called “Mothers Day,” it would imply the day was dedicated to celebrating all mothers or motherhood in general. If the day was called “Mothers’ Day,” it would mean the day belonged to all mothers—and you would need to buy a lot more gifts! By using the name Mother’s Day, the holiday indicates that it belongs to each individual mother, just as Jarvis wanted.

Don’t let those apostrophes, or commas, or dashes, get you down! Review our complete punctuation guide for more.

Writing a heart-felt Mother’s Day card

If your mom is constantly correcting your sloppy use of punctuation marks, Thesaurus.com’s Grammar Coach™ will clean up that totally handwritten Mother’s Day card you will definitely write by putting every apostrophe where it belongs. Grammar Coach™ is great for other holidays, too, so it will be there to give motherly advice when you need to remember how to correctly write Father’s Day or Veterans’ Day.

Mothers and mother figures are irreplaceable. They do so much for us and make us into the people we are today (and we all know your mom is the best in the whole world). But we call our moms by many different names: Mom, Momster, Mamá, Mumsy, Mamma, and Momzilla, just to name a view. And, of course, moms act as more than just mothers. Matriarchs, nurturers, bulwarks, and superwomen are just some of the unique job titles that can describe our moms.

If you’re looking for other ways to call your mother great, extraordinary, or fantastic, Thesaurus’.com’s Grammar Coach™ will act as your fairy godmother with its incredibly handy Synonym Swapper. If you need help with that handwritten Mother’s Day card, we also got just what you need! Our guide to Mother’s Day cards will teach you everything you will need to know, from using the perfect form of address to narrowing the focus down to the very best things you love about your mom.

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All right, dads have a special place in our hearts and grammar, as well. Read about the proper way to punctuate Father's Day.