• 3-minute read
  • 31st December 2020

Writing Tips: New Year, New Year’s, or New Years?

It’s 31 December, so a new year is just around the corner. But is the correct term ‘New Year’, ‘New Year’s’ (with an apostrophe), or ‘New Years’ (with no apostrophe)? And when do you need to capitalise the words ‘New Year’?

In this post, we explain how to avoid errors in your writing.

When to Use ‘New Year’

The ‘New Year’ refers to 31 December (i.e. New Year’s Eve) and 1 January (i.e. New Year’s Day). The main reason to use ‘New Year’ in the singular, then, is to bid someone a ‘Happy New Year’ over this period!

However, while the New Year is technically just the two days mentioned above, it’s fine to say this for the first weeks of January as well.

Capitalising ‘New Year’

You may have noticed that we did not capitalise ‘new year’ in the first sentence of this post. But we do capitalise it in other cases.

The difference here is between the holiday known as the New Year – which is a proper noun – and simply discussing the ‘new year’ in general.

Thus, if you’re referring to the holiday that falls on 31 December and 1 January, you’ll need to capitalise the first letters of ‘New’ and ‘Year’:

I’ll be visiting my family over the New Year.

The same applies when referring to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

But if you’re referring to the coming year in general, you don’t need to capitalise ‘new’ or ‘year’. For example, we could say:

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I hope to visit my family more often in the new year.

In this sentence, ‘in the new year’ simply means ‘during the coming year’.

New Year’s or New Years?

In terms like ‘New Year’s Eve’ and ‘New Year’s Day’, the apostrophe indicates possession. In other words, we’re saying that the ‘Eve’ and ‘Day’ belong to (i.e. are part of) the New Year holiday. The same applies for other things that are related to the New Year. Examples include the following:

We’re throwing a New Year’s party!

I’ve made a list of New Year’s resolutions.

Without the apostrophe, ‘New Years’ is a plural. The only time you’ll need to use ‘New Years’, then, is to refer to multiple New Year holidays:

We’ve spent the last three New Years with friends.

This is rare, though, so most of the time you will need an apostrophe.

Happy New Year!

Since we’re talking about the New Year, we’d like to wish you a very happy and successful one! And if your New Year’s resolution is to make sure your writing is clear and correct, you can upload a free 500-word sample document to be checked by our expert proofreaders today!

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