My seemingly innocent retweet of Grammar Girl this morning gave rise to a lengthy discussion of personal preference regarding the apostrophe in “April Fools’ Day.” Or “April Fool’s Day.” Or “April Fools Day.”
Grammar Girl is careful to check multiple sources, and she found agreement on the plural possessive construction. But one publisher disagrees. The good people at Oxford University Press prefer “April Fool’s Day” on both sides of the Atlantic.
For some reason, the issue struck a nerve, and many people decided to weigh in. So, as we never had a hashtag for the discussion, I’ve cut and pasted the tweets and retweets below. This is just a quickly edited compilation, so please forgive me for any spacing and punctuation issues. For best results, zip down to the bottom and read up.
@Allen02: @EditorMark April Fools’ Day is my birthday. Because I wish to share the glory (rather than be singled out as the fool) I prefer the plural
@PurplePenning:@EditorMark After all this discussion, I think they’re laughing at us.
But are we laughing at them or with them? RT @PurplePenning: Seems no-apostrophe form follows AP on descriptive phrases: day FOR fools.
RT @PurplePenning: @EditorMark Seems like no-apostrophe form (Aprils Fools Day) follows AP guide for descriptive phrases: day FOR fools, no apostrophe.
RT @PurplePenning: @EditorMark To avoid an untenable editing position, should proponents of the Oxford comma embrace the Oxford apostrophe?
@kristy_campbell @EditorMark No joke. Son did report on origin of holiday – chose 1 over many. I’ll be moving the apostrophe going forward. Makes more sense.
No joke? RT @kristy_campbell: I thought it a celebration of a singular fool who didn’t mark the new calendar ordered by the Pope.
I’m all for it! RT @corb21: April Fool’s Day would be ok, if we bought presents for fools on that day….
OED’s earliest reference: “No wise man will tell me that it is not as reasonable to fall out for the observance of April-fool-day” (1753).
RT @MetaPhoenix: We can argue if the correct spelling is Fool’s or Fools’. Either is acceptable. The former is more aesthetically pleasing.
And multiple fools. RT @paxr55: re: Mother’s Day. Yes, but we usu. have but 1 mother. Cf “my [singular] mother” and “our [plural] veterans”
It’s a style question. So, take your pick, but be consistent. (But majority says plural possessive.) RT @FrancisAdams14: What’s your take?
And another: RT @DistantHopes: Why does there have to be ownership of a Day? Could it not just be … dedicated to the plurality of fools?
A vote for nonpossessive: RT @corb21: I’d look to other examples …All Saints Day for one…it’s not All Saint’s Day. I think April Fools Day.
Interesting. Checked 4 other style guides—no entries. RT @StanCarey: Oxford Manual of Style: “April Fool’s Day (one fool) *not* Fools’ (US)”
I can’t find an entry in the Chicago Manual of Style, but the Facebook page goes with “Fools’.” http://bit.ly/aTnc38
AP Stylebook also says “Fools’.” Oxford folks stand alone. RT @jennhoegg: I am reassured there is now consensus, because I prefer Fools’.
It’s “April Fool’s Day” according to Oxford American and OED. But American Heritage, WNW, M-W, Macmillan dictionaries prefer “Fools’.”
Oops, a point of contention for we word fools: RT @OrangeXW: At least one dictionary lists “April Fool’s Day (also April Fools’ Day).” .
RT @GrammarGirl: The proper spelling is “April Fools’ Day.” Really. No joke.