Grammar

Here’s How to Make Your Last Name Plural for Christmas Cards

‘Tis the season to struggle with the rule about how to make your last name plural as you send out your family Christmas cards. It’s easier than you think.

So you’ve made your Christmas card list and you’ve checked it twice. And now it’s time to fill them out and make sure that you make your last name plural so you include your entire family in the sending of Season’s Greetings!

The first lesson I want to make sure you always remember is a simple one:

You don’t use the apostrophe.

The apostrophe doesn’t make names plural. Ever.

It indicates a possessive. So If your last name is Jones, please, please don’t sign the card, “The Jones‘” before you send it.

That will just never do.

The rules are fairly simple.

SimpleMost breaks it down this way: if your last name ends with one of the following, you just add an -es at the end:

  • s
  • x
  • z
  • ch
  • sh

If it ends with any other letter, you just add an -s at the end.

With this rule, given the last name I used in the example above, Jones, you’d just add -es to make the Joneses

So some common plural last names, given this rule, would be written like this: 

  • Johnsons
  • Blakes
  • Sanchezes
  • Shumperts
  • Coxes
  • Antonios

It’s simple enough when you think about it, and you’ll note there’s no apostrophe to be found.

But there’s one little catch.

Just when you thought it was settled, Elizabeth O’Brien’s Grammar Revolution throws a wrench into that simplicity with one key exception: if your name ends with -ch but is pronounced like a k, like Monarch, then you just add an -s, not -es.

All things considered, even this complication isn’t all that complicated, is it? 

Now an even bigger question:

Do you send out Christmas cards, or have you given up on the practice?

1 Comment

  1. My last name ends with an “s,” and I was taught that only Jesus’ name could be written with the apostrophe alone, when using the possessive. Nevertheless, I hate the way my name sounds with the added “s” sound, so I break the rule and just use the apostrophe alone. It’s not that I think so highly of myself; I just think the added “s” makes my name sound awkward. Of course, when it comes to pluralizing my name (something we don’t have to do for Jesus, anyway), I feel the same way about how it sounds. I avoid the problem by simply adding “family” after my name, or I may list all in the family by our first names.

    It seem’s to be more and more common for people to (incorrectly) use apostrophe’s in making just about all word’s plural. Many do so without apology’s. 🙂 Sorry!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.