Is it “Happy New Year” or “Happy New Years”? NYE greetings explained

Whether it’s just with a significant other or at a large party, New Year’s Eve is always an occasion to celebrate.

And when the clock strikes 12, tradition asks us to toast the new year with brief messages to friends and family.

However, punctuation is very important, and some people may feel nervous about where to put the accents on New Year’s Eve.

Read on to learn correct knowledge of NYE grammar.

When to Use “New Year”

“New Year” refers to December 31 (ie, New Year’s Eve) and January 1 (i.e. New Year’s Day).
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The apostrophe-S in “New Year” is required when discussing things that are NYE or January 1st, such as party plans or resolutions being made.

This is because apostrophes are the English language’s way of indicating ownership or something that belongs to someone else.

As a result, the following three examples are all correct applications of the “New Year” accent.

  • New Year’s Eve: December 31st is the New Year’s Eve time of 2022.
  • New Year’s Day: January 1, the first day of 2022.
  • Tackling the New Year: A stated goal to work towards in the new year.

In each example there is a clear relationship between Tet and the noun: New Year’s Eve, the day itself, and the due date.

This is because they all relate specifically to New Year, which means that “New Year” becomes the complement to each noun.

Therefore, it is correct to say: “We are having a New Year’s party” and “I have made a list of New Year’s resolutions.”

When to Use “New Year”

New Year
When referring to holidays that fall on December 31 and January 1, you will need to capitalize the first letters of “New” and “Year”:
oatawa / Getty images

From midnight on December 31 and for the next few days, people say “Happy New Year!”

“New Year” is also used correctly without the possessive exclamation-S when discussing the whole year.

In contrast, “New Year” refers to a particular night, day, and year.

But “new year” usually comes up when people are talking about the year in general, usually before it begins or when it’s still early in the year.

This means that the following examples are correct usages of “new year”.

  • December is a very busy time for me, so we should have dinner early in the new year.
  • Now is the new year, I have more free time to socialize.
  • Happy New Year to all of you!

Note, in the examples above, “New Year” is capitalized when a holiday or January 1 is being discussed, but not when the new year as the timeframe is being referenced.

When to Use “New Year”

Happy New Year
Colored dots are the English language’s way of showing possession or something that belongs to something else
bernardbodo / Getty Images

The New Year marks the departure of one year and the dawn of another 12 months, which means that there are two related years, for example 2021 and 2022, but only the following year is new.

Logically, therefore, there is no occasion to exclaim “Happy New Year”, since the last word is plural and indicates a year occurring at any time.

However, it is still grammatically correct to say “new years” in the plural, as is the case in the following example.

  • The New Year is traditionally a time for reflection, celebration, and determination to do things a little differently.

The theme here is many new years, or every year, at least as it begins.

Note that the example above could also be rephrased to focus on the New Year’s holiday: “The New Year is always a time for reflection, celebration, and determination to do things differently.”

This second edition focuses on the NYE event, rather than each new year, a more popular event.

When people talk about a celebration over many years, the annual occasion every December 31, or the general New Year, the term chosen is usually “New Year”.

This is because “New Year’s Day” is these days which are common abbreviations of “New Year’s Eve” and the name of the holiday functions as an adjective.

This is reflected in the following examples.

  • Every new year I go to a party and we watch the fireworks at midnight.
  • All New Year’s parties in clubs are more appreciated than spending them at home.

Hope that clears it up for you – Happy New Year! Is it “Happy New Year” or “Happy New Years”? NYE greetings explained

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