You’re about to throw an end-of-the-year party. But, do you know what to write on the invitations?
Write your cards the right way. We’ve also got tips regarding capitalization, pluralization, and which version you should never use.
- To wish someone well, the correct version is “Happy New Year!“.
- “New Years” and “New Years’” are incorrect because you can’t have more than one new year at a time.
- Use the possessive “New Year’s” to indicate a time, event, or item that belongs to the New Year.
- Also, opt for the capitalized form of “New Year” to refer to the actual holiday.
- Use lower case “new year” when referring to the upcoming year in general.
- “New Year’s Eve” follows all the same rules as “New Year’s.”
The clock strikes midnight. The ball finishes its meandering descent down into Time’s Square, and you’re full to the brim with bubbly. Now it’s time to help usher in the next 365 days.
Do you say “Happy New Year” or “Happy New Years”?
If you want to wish someone well, the correct phrase is “Happy New Year!”. This is because there’s only one new year at any given time, so “year” is singular. If you want make new year plural or talk about more than one new year at a time, use “New Years“. If you want to talk about resolutions or something that belongs to the new year, use “New Year’s” with an apostrophe before the “s”.
Let’s look a little closer at each use with examples.
1. “Happy New Year” and When to Use it
While you may see several versions of this famous phrase, there are only two ways to use it correctly. It’s 11:59 pm on December 31st, and you turn to your BFF and get ready to yell “Happy New Year!”
Because there’s only one new year at any given time, “year” is singular.
2. “New Years” and When to Use it
You may also say “New Year” minus the “happy” if you’re talking about the holiday in other ways. If you do that, watch your capitalization (more on that in a moment). For instance:
You can technically use the plural form of New Years any time you’re talking about more than one New Year. That’s not likely to happen, though, since you can only have one New Year at a time. You can use the plural if you’re referencing the idea of new years in general (notice the lack of capitalization).
3. “Happy New Year’s” and When to Use it
When the apostrophe shows up, it indicates possession.
In other words, whatever comes after “New Year’s” belongs to the holiday. Remember that “New Year’s” is almost always short for “New Year’s Eve” or “New Year’s Day.”
Even if you’re talking about multiple New Year’s parties, you will use the singular possessive. This is because you’re talking about several parties, each one belonging to a single year. For instance:
Do You Capitalize “Happy New Year” in a Sentence?
The short answer? Sometimes. More specifically, we capitalize “New Year” if it refers to the holiday. In that case, it’s being used as a proper noun just like Valentine’s Day or Empire State Building. New year is not capitalized when it refers to the upcoming year, otherwise known as the 12 months starting on January 1st.
In the first example, the resolution is possessive (hence the apostrophe) and refers to the actual holiday. That means the capitalization is correct.
In the second example, the author is talking about eating more delicious coconut cream pie (because that’s the best flavor, obviously). He or she is going to eat that pie in the new year, not on New Year’s Day or Eve. Therefore, there’s no need to capitalize it.
What About “New Year’s Eve”?
“New Year’s Eve” follows all the same rules as “Happy New Year” and “New Year’s Day.”
- The phrase is possessive because “Eve” belongs to “New Year’s.” Don’t forget the apostrophe!
- The whole phrase should be capitalized because it’s referencing a specific holiday occurring on December 31st.
Ringing in the New Year Right
In conclusion, nobody wants to ruin the new year just as it starts. So, make sure that you begin it by using the correct greeting phrase on your cards and emails. Start by triple-checking your apostrophes. Also, don’t forget proper capitalization.
However, if you’re still confused, you may refer to our expert-approved examples of New Year’s/New Years below:
Happy New Year Quick Grammar Quiz
Happy New Year Question #1
The answer is A. Year is singular here, so an ‘s’ is not necessary. Also, it doesn’t require an apostrophe because there’s no possession.
New Year Question #2
The answer is B. The word "eve" belongs to New Year. So, an apostrophe is required before the 's' to indicate a singular possessive.
Happy New Year Question #3
The answer is B. The sentence refers to a plural form of New Year; hence the additional s.
The answer is TRUE. Only capitalize New Year when you’re using it as a proper noun in a sentence.