The holidays are approaching fast. If you’re sending out cards and gifts to your family and friends, you may be worried about a common question: how do you make a family name plural? If you’re sending a card to the family of your friend Jane Miller, you can easily address the card to the Millers—but what about the Jones family or the Wolf family?
A few simple rules can make your task easier. Learn to make family names plural with the following tips.
1. Add “s” or “es”
Most family names can be made plural by just adding “s” on the end. For example, the West family can be referred to as the Wests, and the Peterson family can be called the Petersons.
However, the exceptions are when a last name ends in “s,” “x,” “z,” “ch,” or “sh.” For these names, put “es” on the end instead of just “s.” For example, the Jones family should be called the Joneses, and your card for the Ash family should be addressed to the Ashes.
2. Keep the Name the Same
If you send a card to a family with the last name Wolf, you may be tempted to address the card to the Wolves. Similarly, if you have cousins who have the last name Kennedy, you might think you should address the card to the Kennedies.
Never change the name itself when making it plural. Instead, just add the usual “s” or “es” on the end. Your card should be addressed to the Wolfs, not the Wolves, or to the Kennedys, not the Kennedies.
Writing the name this way might feel weird if the name is usually changed in other settings: for example, the plural of “man” is “men.” However, even if it doesn’t feel right, if a family’s last name is Hoffman, the plural form is Hoffmans, not Hoffmen.
3. Don’t Add an Apostrophe
Many people are tempted to add an apostrophe to the end of a plural family name, so they address a card to the Weavers’. However, apostrophes do not indicate that a name is plural; they indicate possession.
Only use an apostrophe when you’re trying to write about something the family owns. For example, “the Weavers’ house” or “the Perkinses’ party” are correct. If you’re not writing about something the family possesses, skip the apostrophe. You don’t need it.
With these tips, you can correctly address your holiday cards and gifts. However, if you’re ever confused, just remember this one rule: you can always write “to the Jones family” or “to the Ash family” instead. Happy holidays, and enjoy writing your grammatically correct cards!