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Father’s Day: Apostrophe, Capitalization, and Spelling Fun

Do you write “Happy Father’s Day” or “Fathers’ Day” or “Fathers Day?” Where the heck does the Father’s Day apostrophe go for this holiday, and why? Which letters are capitalized in the spelling? You’ve come to the right place to find out all about this special day, which always falls on the third Sunday in June!

My name is Lillie, and I’m and English teacher and artist who delights in hand-illustrating explanations of such English lessons as, “Happy New Year, New Years, or New Year’s?” My goal is to draw memorable images to help you remember the correct apostrophe placement, capitalization, and spelling. Ready for the Father’s Day one? Here you go…

Father's Day apostrophe
Father’s Day apostrophe fun!

Father’s Day Apostrophe Use

Where is the apostrophe in Father’s Day — and why? The correct punctuation is: “Happy Father’s Day,” with the apostrophe after the “R” and before the “S.” How come?

Well, an apostrophe is used for contractions (putting two words together, as with the contraction, “don’t”), or possession: ownership. In the case of Father’s Day, we are using the apostrophe for the latter function: this holiday is “owned by” each individual father — just like St. Patrick’s Day is “owned by” St. Patrick, and thus has an apostrophe before the “S.”

Fathers Day, Father’s Day, or Fathers’ Day?

But wait — given that Father’s Day celebrates all dads, why don’t we write it like “Happy Fathers’ Day,” indicating that the holiday is “owned by” MULTIPLE dads? The reason is that the convention is following the rule set by Mother’s Day, which was specifically set up to honor individual mothers, per the request of its founder, Anna Jarvis, in the early 1900s.

Similarly, “Valentine’s Day” is written with the apostrophe before the “S” because it is honoring St. Valentine, an individual. Why isn’t the holiday written “Fathers Day” — as a plural with no apostrophe? Because we want to emphasize the “ownership” piece: that this day belongs to each dad.

Father's Day, Fathers' Day, or Fathers Day?
Father’s Day, Fathers’ Day, or Fathers Day?

Is Father’s Day Capitalized?

Now that we understand the apostrophe placement, what is the correct capitalization for this holiday? Is “Father’s Day” capitalized? Yes! Why? Because holidays are proper nouns (which get capital letters), you write, “Happy Father’s Day!” with the “F” and “D” always capitalized at the start of each word.

Meanwhile, the “H” in “happy” capitalized only if it’s the first word of a sentence. Similarly, you’d write, “Happy Easter,” but, “I hope you’re having a happy Easter!” with the holiday name always capitalized, but the “Happy” upper-case only when starting a sentence. (This rule is a whole lot more logical than the answer to, “Are seasons capitalized?”)

VIDEO: “Happy Father’s Day” Spelling

See my “Happy Father’s Day” spelling video…

Father’s Day Drawings

Looking for ideas on Father’s Day drawings for a card for dad? As a parent, myself, I strongly urge you to create your own heartfelt pictures — even if you don’t think you’re a “perfect artist.” Add in a short letter to go with the art, explaining about specific things you love and acknowledge about your dad (or father-figure), and it’s a sure win.

Why is it better to do your own drawings instead of downloading someone else’s? Homemade cards really show love and thought — especially when there are sincere words to go with them. For simple ideas on what to draw for Father’s Day, check out my round-up of easy, cute drawing ideas. I particularly recommend the cute frog drawing!

Father’s Day Apostrophe Use, in Sum

I hope this lesson about writing the Father’s Day apostrophe, and the capitalization of the holiday, has been useful and enjoyable. If you want more, feel free to check out my free printable Pi Day activities, plus a fun tutorial on how to do a Santa drawing — including his jolly hat!

What other holidays would you like me to illustrate and explain? Do share!