Not a creature was stirring, save for those darn apostrophes

Christmas Landscape

By Joe Diorio

The holiday season is upon us. Or at least it has been since late September when my local Walmart put out its first Christmas decorations. But more important than the over-commercialization of the holiday is what showed up in my mailbox the other day. It was a Christmas card with the following written inside:

“Happy holidays! We love the Diorio’s.”

Wait! Love the Diorio’s … WHAT? Our humor? Our address? The way I make mountains out of grammatical molehills?

I take issue with the last item. It seems knowing how to make one’s last name plural has gone the way of waiting until your second slice of apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner before playing any Vince Guaraldi Trio Christmas music.

“Diorio’s,” as it appears on the card, is possessive. Simply adding an “s” at the end, Diorios, makes it plural. I suspect the author of this card – who is no doubt removing me from their Christmas card list as they read this – meant to say “Diorios” rather than “Diorio’s.”

Since it appears to be that hard to make someone’s last name plural rather than possessive, and I suspect more than a few of us will be sending Christmas (OK, HOLIDAY) cards this year, I offer to you a great guide developed by Kate Brannen that was recently published in Slate. Brannen’s (see? That’s possessive) column offers a user-friendly guide to making a last name plural. Written way better than I could ever hope to write, the full column appears here.

Enjoy the holidays and let’s write carefully out there, folks.

Joe Diorio is a writer living in Nashville, Tennessee. He hasn’t started addressing his holiday cards yet.

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