Is it Happy New Year or Year's

Is it Happy New Year or Year's

The last thing to worry about when ushering in the new year is where exactly can you place the apostrophe. But let this year be different; get the nitty-gritty things about the new year, new year's, and new years right so that you may toast at the stroke of midnight with the right punctuations.

So, when is it new year’s?

Say new year's when referring to 31st December 1st January resolutions and anything that belongs to the new year. Back to grammar. Anything with an apostrophe followed by the letter 'S' shows that something belongs to the other. In this case, we talk about things belonging to the new year. Here is how you can practically use “new year’s”

  • New year's eve: Night before the new year
  • New year’s day: The first day in the new year
  • New year’s resolutions: Things you say or aspire to do for the new year

All the three above show a relationship of belonging to one another among eve, day, and resolutions – not any resolution but the new year's only. We can safely conclude that 'new year's' modifies each noun.

Take a look at some of these examples using new year’s:

  • I like partying on New Year’s: Implies New Year’s Eve, a shortcut referring to 31st December. New Year’s shows possessive of the new year.
  • I like watching movies on New Year’s Day: Talking about 1st January.
  • My New Year's resolutions: It is talking about resolutions belonging to the new year.

Please take note that New Year's is capitalized because it refers to a specific event.

When is it 'New Year.'

You can say this phrase at midnight and a few more days into January. For example, Happy new year! Say happy new year when you are referring to the whole year; New Year's refers to one day, one night, and one resolution or many - it doesn't matter.

Now let's see some use cases of "New Year."

"I am a lot busy during this December, let's have lunch in the new year."

"Now that the new year has come, I will have a lot of time to study."

“Happy New Year to you!”

Note that each first letter of the New Year is capitalized because it refers to a holiday or a big day, but not capitalized when referring to a timeframe - the new year.

When is it “New Years."

New Year's marks the end of one year and the beginning of another year, so we talk about two years – old and new one. But we know only one is new, that's why we say New Year's. It means it is impossible to say "Happy New Years." We only use new years when referring to two or more successive years ahead. Look at this example;

“New years provide people an opportunity to reflect, celebrate and resolve to do things differently” in the future."

We are talking about multiple coming years in the example above. At least when every single year starts. It does not focus on an event on 31st December or 1st January but emphasizes every new year.

You can put the same sentence in "New Year's" but now change the meaning completely. Have a close look at it below:

“New Year’s provides people an opportunity to reflect, celebrate and resolve to do things differently going forward."

First, the two words begin with capital letters to mean it is now a noun referring to the event and not a timeframe. Secondly, the apostrophe indicates the possessiveness of the noun. Thirdly, New Year's is the shortcut of New Year's Eve, and now the name of the holiday functions as an adjective.

Here are a few examples of how New Year's takes the shortcut for New Year's Eve:

  • "Every New Year's we go partying with my friends in big five-star hotels."
  • "All New Year's parties in towns are extraordinarily overpriced."
  • “I searched for grapes in the stores in vain, this New Year’s celebrations will be odd."


Now you can differentiate the three most confusing phrases. I say confusing because most people get it wrong. You can now start your celebrations knowing where to place the apostrophe in the “New Year’s, New Year, and New years." Also, know when to capitalize each word and when not to in “New Year’s, New Year, and New years." And I hope it becomes a resolution to get the apostrophes right in all the coming new years! Let me wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!