Sunday, August 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Should you send ‘season’s greetings’ or ‘seasons greetings’?

By
From page A10 | December 18, 2011 |

While preparing your holiday cards, you may be stumped by a recurring December dilemma: should you write “season’s greetings” or “seasons’ greetings”? Or “seasons greetings,” with no apostrophe at all?

The expression “season’s greetings” is an expression of “genitive case” — also known as possessive — in which one noun is the “possessor” of another noun.

Genitive case can be used to express an attribute. For example, a reference to “Sophia’s arrival” does not indicate that she “possesses” an arrival; “arrival” names an action that Sophia is taking. That’s a particular kind of genitive case that grammarians call “subjective genitive.” The word in the genitive case (Sophia’s) performs an action that the “possessed” word names (Sophia arrives). The subject is Sophia’s arrival.

In contrast, a construction called “objective genitive” is composed of a genitive that modifies a noun that performs an inferred action upon the genitive modifier: The Columbia Guide to Standard American English offers “your father’s illness” (the illness acted upon your father) and “his tormentors” (referring to people who tormented him).

The phrase “season’s greetings” can be considered a descriptive genitive or an objective genitive. When Belinda says “season’s greetings,” the greetings are hers; they do not belong to the season. She is sending greetings for the season or greeting people in the spirit of the season. But she is speaking of only one season; offering “seasons’ greetings” would indicate that she is referring to two or more seasons, which presumably is not Belinda’s intention.

So at the end of this year you can confidently offer clients, colleagues, business associates, relatives and friends “greetings for the season” — or “season’s greetings” (with the apostrophe between the “n” and the “s”).

If you’re still hesitant about writing “season’s greetings” because people don’t really say that to one another, you can always honor specific traditions instead. Wish a “merry Christmas” to Christians, “happy Hanukkah” (or Chanukah) to people of the Jewish faith, “happy Kwanzaa” or “joyous Kwanzaa” to African-American friends, and “eid mubarak” (which literally means “blessed festivities”) to Muslims.

You might also wish someone a “happy new year,” but don’t say “happy new years” (plural) unless you’re referring to more than one year at a time (the holiday is named in possessive form: New Year’s Day).

We at EditPros favor “happy holidays” because most people celebrate more than one holiday this time of year — an ethnic or religious holiday in addition to the advent of the new calendar year.
Whichever greeting you choose, find a comfortable pen, limber your wrist, and get started. The holidays are just about here.

— Marti Childs and Jeff March are co-owners of EditPros LLC (www.editpros.com) of Davis, and authors of “Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? – Volume 1.”

Comments

comments

Jeff March and Marti Childs

.

News

 
Davis audience hears from civil-rights hero

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Legislators wrap up with water, ethics, guns bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: This new kid might have a future

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Five U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
EU threatens Russia with more sanctions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Rotary clubs offer Davis High students some life lessons

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Robbery, pursuit in Central Davis lead to one arrest

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Dinner will raise funds to help farmers in Burkina Faso

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Beamer Park featured at Stroll Through History

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bean Feed supports for Yolo Democrats’ activities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Bauer garden marks one year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Tuleyome Tales: Be safe on wilderness trails

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Small wineries suffer big losses in quake

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Grande site has been a convoluted saga

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

 
Say goodbye to summer with a ‘Final Blast’ at Explorit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Bay Bridge project’s rainy-day money is nearly gone

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A15 | Gallery

.

Forum

Already made herself at home

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Keep our green waste piles

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

How to make a good living

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Nate Beeler cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Changing local election dates benefits Democrats

By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

 
Ad-free email? You can still find it at Davis Community Network

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

City panel working to tighten scrutiny of taxpayer dollars

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Try round-robin storytelling at crafts fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Health problems mean he’s checked out

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A14

Marriage doesn’t mean we agree on everything

By Marion Franck | From Page: A14

 
This epidemic should scare us

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

.

Sports

New coach, new tougher league for DHS football

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Coach likes what she sees from Devil field hockey squad

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD notebook: Coaches positive about FCS schools ‘playing up’

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils open with an impressive volleyball victory

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stanford scores early, often in opener versus UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Aggie harriers secure season-opening sweep

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Cats win late to pull even with Aces

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Comings and Goings: Is fro-yo craze melting?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Sutter Davis Hospital honored again as a ‘best place to work’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

Community pools its purchasing power to reduce the cost of solar

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

 
Engage3 attracts investment for shopping app

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

California growers can use MBI’s new bioinsecticide

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

 
Sudwerk, Davis Food Co-op join for ‘co-hop-eration’ brew

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Wanda P. Daley

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, August 31, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8