Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy What-Is-Still-Technically-Washington's-Birthday

Today is a national holiday in the U.S. in observation of our first president (whose actual birthday is in two days), but because the our sixteenth president (whose actual birthday was eight days ago) also used to have a holiday observation in his honor and eventually having two consecutive Mondays off was more than could be allowed this day's celebration came to honor both men and drew the moniker "Presidents Day."

(Do not take that ridiculously abbreviated history as something you can reference for a term paper, kids.)

However, besides a day off from work, my interest remains in how people attach punctuation to the day. Although there's no need to put an apostrophe and make it possessive, many do, even in professional commercials. But what's particularly noteworthy is that some spell it Presidents' (plural) and some spell it President's (singular), which may be a simple lack of thinking about whether they're intended to commemorate only Washington or both he and Lincoln, but what.

I have written about that two years ago (and again last year) and the only thing that's clear about the specific way of referencing this day is that still there's no ubiquitous agreement about whether there should be an apostrophe or not, and if so, where it should be. You can click on the links to read the older posts if you don't recall them, and I won't belabor that point again here.

All I'll observe is how two tweets from prominent individuals referenced it:

Herman Cain: Presidents' Day
Sarah Palin: Presidents' Day
Michelle Obama: President's Day

I'll allow you to make of those what you will.

We're supposed to be out buying mattresses anyway, aren't we?


  1. That's three tweets, but you're correct, Michelle Obama doesn't rank as "prominent," just "notorious."

  2. Marvin, are you suggesting all three are prominent?


So, what do you think?