Pluralizing Last Names: The Most Popular Question of the Week

It won’t be a huge surprise that the question I have received the most this week through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter concerns addressing Christmas cards.

How do I make my last name plural?

This week I presented a Grammar-for-Grownups virtual session for a company, and when it was time for Q&A, we spent 20 minutes pluralizing the last names of the participants. It was so much fun, and several people were surprised by the answers.

If I could drill it down to two rules, here’s what I encourage you to remember as you’re addressing your holiday greeting cards this month:

One. Do not add an apostrophe to make your last name plural.

INCORRECT: Merry Christmas from the Stanley’s

CORRECT: Merry Christmas from the Stanleys

Two. Don’t change the spelling of your name to make it plural.

For instance, if your last name is Kennedy, you don’t change the –y to –i and add –es.

INCORRECT: Season’s Greetings from the Kennedies

CORRECT: Season’s Greetings from the Kennedys

So, what if your last name ends in –s?

INCORRECT: Happy Holidays from the Williams’

CORRECT: Happy Holidays from the Williamses

INCORRECT: Love, the Collums’

CORRECT: Love, the Collumses

INCORRECT: Merry Christmas from the Runnels’

CORRECT: Merry Christmas from the Runnelses

INCORRECT: Best wishes from the Jones’

CORRECT: Best wishes from the Joneses

I know some of those look awkward and clunky, but they are correct.

If you have a question about your last name, respond to this post, and I’ll share the answer—hopefully in time for you to get your cards in the mail.


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash