Written by Pat Wootton, PromptProofing.com
The team at Prompt Proofing examines some common seasonal misconceptions.
It's that time of year again and, as everyone gets into the holiday spirit - or perhaps because of the holiday spirit - we tend to see some common errors crop up in people's writing.
At this time of year, both earthbound mail systems and cyberspace abound with seasonal greetings, promotional newsletters and those ubiquitous Christmas letters to family and friends. Does it matter if they are correct in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation? Possibly not, if your letter is just going to your nearest and dearest who may forgive your personal quirks, but more professional offerings definitely need to be correct. Below are some common errors/misconceptions:
- Season's Greetings - that's right, you're sending greetings of the season (just ONE season), so the apostrophe comes before the 's', not after.
- New Year's Eve - this is open to similar errors. Again, it is the eve of the New Year (only one year at a time), so the apostrophe precedes the 's'.
- New Year's Day - see above.
- Happy Holidays - this is used more and more for those preferring a more secular greeting. Holidays here is a simple plural so no apostrophe is required.
- Santa Claus - this is the correct spelling. Santa Clause (with an e) should only refer to the movie The Santa Clause, which was a deliberate play on the name, associating it with a legal clause.
- Xmas vs Christmas - this has been a bone of contention for many Christians who feel that 'Xmas' is disrespectful. In fact, this is not the case; 'X' is the initial of the Greek word for Christ, and, as such, is perfectly acceptable; it does not mean that 'Christ' is being taken out of Christmas. However, it is arguably less appropriate in formal communications. Also, both 'Christmas' and 'Xmas' must always be capitalized.
Check back next Friday for another Prompt
Proofing blog post!
About the Author
Pat Wootton is originally from England and is a former high school English teacher. Having spent many years in the Caribbean, where she raised her family, she now lives in Vancouver, BC. In addition, she has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for several years after earning a diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of British Columbia. She now owns and runs Prompt Proofing, a copy editing and writing service that caters to both individuals and businesses.