No apostrophes needed.


"Happy holidays from the Smith's!"

Can you spot the grammatical error here? We've all committed this common punctuation mistake when making last names plural—and it's even easier to make now in the era of autocorrect. But when signing your family's last name on a thank-you note, greeting card, letter, e-mail, Christmas card, etc., you don't need to use an apostrophe to make it plural. Adding an apostrophe makes the last name possessive, which is unnecessary in this case. Depending on the last letter of the name, simply add –s or –es. Signing a card, "Happy holidays from the Smiths!" correctly includes the entire family in the message's sentiment.

Leave out the apostrophe when making last names plural. For names that do not end in –s, –z, –ch, –sh, or –x, just add –s to the end of the name to make it plural. For example, to congratulate a couple on tying the knot, you'd say, "Congratulations to the Hunters on their recent marriage." Or, if you were inviting the Lee family over for dinner, then you'd say, "I'm inviting the Lees over for dinner."

For names that do end in –s, –z, –ch, –sh, or –x, add –es. For example, if you were to say, "The Hayneses recently moved to Georgia," you're indicating that the collective Haynes family moved to Georgia. Names that end in –s or are pronounced with a soft "z" sound may look weird when –es is added, but the usage is correct. As another example, if you were inviting the Jones family over for dinner, then you'd say, "I'm inviting the Joneses over for dinner.

For last names ending in –y, simply add –s. Do not drop the –y and add –ies as with other nouns, verbs, and adjectives. For example, "Merry Christmas from the Murphys." It's as simple as that.

Check out this article about the difference between "fixin'" and "fixing," and test your knowledge on the correct spelling of y'all (or is it ya'll?). What are your grammatical pet peeves? Which grammar rules would you like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments.