Why There Is No Apostrophe In “Veterans Day”

Posted by | November 11, 2010 16:42 | Filed under: Top Stories

Why is it not “Veteran’s Day” or “Veterans’ Day”? Professor Pat Okker at the University of Missouri explains:

  • The first variation, “Veteran’s,” uses the singular noun in its possessive case, suggesting that the day ‘belongs’ to each veteran.
  • The second variant, “Veterans’,” is the plural noun in the possessive case, which suggests that the day belongs to all veterans.
  • The third variation, “Veterans,” is attributive, meaning the word functions as an adjective rather than a possessive noun.

By Professor Okker’s measure, No. 3 is the superlative choice.

“Since the first example (Veteran’s Day) would refer to only one veteran, that seems not to be the best choice,” Okker said.

Okker thinks Veterans’ Day is a “viable option” but ultimately favors “Veterans” because it not possessive.

“It suggests that it is a holiday that belongs to all of us to honor veterans,” Okker wrote in an e-mail. “To me, that is the appropriate meaning: Veterans Day isn’t a holiday just for some Americans; instead it is a national holiday for us all to honor veterans. The absence of the apostrophe, then, says a lot,” Okker wrote.

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By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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