Celebrate the New Year in (MLA) Style

By Jennifer Rappaport

Should you write, “Happy New Year,” “Happy new year,” or “Happy New Year’s”?

It depends on how much happiness you want to impart. If you want to wish someone happiness for the entire year, write, “Happy New Year,” following the entry for “New Year” in Webster’s. But if you’re feeling especially parsimonious about the year ahead and want to wish someone happiness for only the first day of it, you would write, “Happy New Year’s Day,” or “Happy New Year’s” for short, since the name of the holiday in Webster’s is “New Year’s Day.”

The entry in Webster’s does not give us license to abandon commonsense rules about capitalization. When using new year generically and preceding it with an article, lowercase the term: It’s a new year. The audit will begin in the new year.

Works Cited

“New Year.” Merriam-Webster.com, unabridged.merriam-webster.com/collegiate/New%20Year.

“New Year’s Day.” Merriam-Webster.com, unabridged.merriam-webster.com/collegiate/new%20year’s%20day.

Published 1 January 2018

Join the Conversation

We invite you to comment on this post. Comments are moderated and subject to the terms of service.

If you have a question about MLA style, ask us! Questions submitted through this comment form will not be answered.

Fields marked with * are required.

Your e-mail address will not be published.

Get MLA Style News from The Source

Be the first to read new posts and updates about MLA style.

The Source Sign-up - Style Center Footer

Skip to toolbar