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Loving Apostrophes Isn't Just for Valentine's

How the saint's celebration of love continues with no saint, little love and too many apostrophes

On a black background there is a heart shape that has been ripped into two pieces. On top of one side are the letters l and o, they look like they are written with sparks. On the other half of the heart are the letters v and e, written in the same style
Photos: Jude Beck at Unsplash

The Feast of Saint Valentine is over for another year. How was it for you?

With participation no longer a focus, now is a good time to look at the background to the day. There is much we can learn and take on board for the other 364 days of the year.

From the origin of the name, to the traps laid out by the associated words, language plays a part in the potential turmoil that can happen around this day of love. In this article, I will explain why the message of the day should really be "love isn’t real", and give you ways to remember your apostrophes, capitals and plurals. But first, let's set the context by looking at the truth behind the sell.

(TL;DR? You will find a summary of the accepted grammar norms to use at the bottom of this article.)

What's love got to do with it?

The day may target the wallets of adults, but the love it celebrates is the love defined by our 8-year-old selves. It is the happy ending, the swirling emotion, the secret that makes life complete. It is the mysterious feeling the grown-ups told us we would understand when we were older.

It wouldn’t be as easy to sell the champagne, chocolate, and roses if it were more honest in its definition, representing the things we later discover are really driving long-term relationships. Having a mate who you don’t mind having sex with now and again. Saving money by combining two salaries and getting tax benefits. Avoiding loneliness in old age.

In a white frame on a black background are the letters l and o from the beginning of the word love
Photo: Jude Beck at Unsplash

What really happens on Valentine’s Day?

Lots of us get married.

But not for long.

The idea of saying your vows on the 14th of February oozes big romantic gesture. Unfortunately, couples who begin their lives of marital bliss on Valentine’s Day don’t enjoy their double celebration for long, as they are over 18% more likely to divorce, and divorce sooner, than those married on a more ‘normal’ day.

1 in 10 won’t last five years. 1 in 5 will never receive their gift of tin.

The average marriage in the UK lasts 12.3 years.