Grammar Is It Valentine’s Day or Valentines Day? |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Is It Valentine’s Day or Valentines Day?

As February 14 approaches, some people may wonder how to write the name of the holiday that honors Saint Valentine.

Do You Use an Apostrophe When Spelling Valentine’s Day?

The day was first recognized as “The Feast of St. Valentine” in A.D. 269. Both The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook identify the holiday as a singular possessive noun with an apostrophe before the s. This style treats the holiday as a day belonging to St. Valentine, thus making it possessive.

Must We Capitalize Valentine’s Day?

Another common question for some people may be whether Valentine’s Day should always be capitalized. The answer is that when we are referring to the holiday, we do capitalize it as a proper noun phrase.

If on the other hand we are making a general reference to the word valentine as a common noun, as in the examples below, the word is not capitalized.

He bought his girlfriend a big, sentimental valentine.
The little boy asked his mom if she would be his valentine.

Some writers might also ask why, if the holiday is named for a saint, we don’t write St. Valentine’s Day as we do St. Patrick’s Day.

Some people do refer to the holiday as St. Valentine’s Day, but for the most part, the slightly shorter Valentine’s Day seems to have endured and been preferred through the years. Neither CMOS nor AP has an official stance on St. Valentine’s Day.

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