Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

New Year or New Year’s?

Do you say “New Year” or “New Year’s” when referring to the first day of January?

In a discussion forum for English usage, it appeared that Americans prefer “New Year’s”, while most other English speakers (including me) prefer New Year, and feel that there is something missinjg in “New Year’s” that makes us want to ask “New year’s what?”

We will happily say “New Year’s Eve” or “New Year’s Day” or “New Year’s resolutions” (not that I’ve ever made any, or thought of doing so, but I know some people do). But I don’t ever use “New Year’s” on its own.

I suppose there’s no particular logical reason for that. I use other possessives on their own, where people would understand what I was referring to by the context. “Let’s go to Fred’s” would be understood as Let’s go to Fred’s house, or Fred’s restaurant, or whatever.

But I never, ever say “I’ll see you after New Year’s.”

In my dialect “New Year’s” must always be qualified by “Eve”, “Day”, “Resolutions” etc., and sounds incomplete without one of those things.

So what do you say?

Please answer the quiz question, and perhaps make a comment, indicating which part of the world you live in, and which form seems more natural to you, and why.


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4 thoughts on “New Year or New Year’s?

  1. New Year for me. As you say New Year’s what. The possessive without the subject is too ambiguous or ‘foreign’ for me in this case.

  2. It depends.If I lie someone I will wish them happiness for the whole of the year in question. Someone I dislikes gets a wish happiness for the day!

  3. Have voted with the majority.

  4. Steve, I’m not sure if you celebrate it on the 6th or the 7th and forgive me if I get it wrong but Merry Christmas today.

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