Valentines or Valentine’s: How to Spell Valentine’s Day

Not sure how to spell Valentine’s Day? This guide will help you figure out which one is correct in specific situations.

How to spell Valentine’s Day troubles a lot of people when writing a card to their loved ones on February 14th. Is it with or without the apostrophe and capitalized or not? 

When writing the name of the holiday, the correct spelling is Valentine’s Day. On the other hand, the word valentines can be used when referring to gifts you have purchased or received and the people you’re giving them to on this holiday. 

As an example:

  • I gave my entire class valentines as part of a college project on St Valentine’s Day.

Still, many get confused about which spelling is appropriate for specific situations. To avoid this happening in your writing, you need to understand what types of words you’re using and in what context.

While here, check out another article dealing with possessive words to figure out whether women’s or womens is the right spelling.

Now, let’s dive in.

Valentines or Valentine’s: Which Is Correct?

How to spell Valentine’s Day? Valentines or Valentine’s
Valentine’s Day is widely known and celebrated among lovebirds around the globe.

On February 14th, people around the world express their love for each other by giving cards, flowers, and other gifts. And for many, the problem arises the moment they start writing the card. 

How do you spell this holiday? With or without the suffix -‘s? Capitalized letters or not? Many struggle with these questions—even native English speakers. To make the answer as clear as possible, let’s look at the etymology of the holiday first.

What Is Saint Valentine’s Day?

Even though it’s not a public holiday in any country, Valentine’s Day is widely known and celebrated among lovebirds around the globe. But what’s interesting is that this holiday wasn’t all that much about romance until sometime during the Middle Ages.

Who Was St. Valentine?

St. Valentine
One legend says that St. Valentine performed marriages for young lovers in secret.

Even more interesting is that we don’t know who Valentine was, except that he was a martyr and a saint. The Catholic Church has records of at least three saints that fit the description.

Plus, how Saint Valentine became associated with romance and courtly love isn’t precisely understood either. One legend says that he performed marriages for young lovers in secret, which was prohibited in Rome at that time.

Another legend says that he tried to escape from the prison, which eventually got him killed. Before that, he wrote a letter to a girl he fell in love with, signed “From your Valentine,” the expression we use to this day.

When is St. Valentine’s Day? 

The pope declared the date – February 14th – as Valentine’s Day way back in the 5th century, but it would take another ten centuries before the date became associated with love. The first known mention of the holiday, in that sense, goes way back to 1375. In a poem named “Parliament of Foules,” Geoffrey Chaucer wrote:

“For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”

The 14th and 15th centuries were the height of courtly love, and it was at this time that Valentine’s Day gradually morphed into the love celebration we know today.

How To Spell Valentine’s Day

As we already established, the holiday is named after the patron saint of love, Valentine. Put differently, the word Valentine is a proper noun since it refers to a particular person, so it should always be capitalized, regardless of where it falls in the sentence. 

In the calendar of saints, the holiday is addressed as the Feast of Saint Valentine. But as the celebration of love and affection, it’s more commonly known as St. Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day.

When to Use Valentine’s

As you can see, the colloquial name is constructed in a possessive form. In English, turning a singular noun into the possessive form is as simple as adding the possessive apostrophe -’s. So instead of saying the Day of Valentine, we say Valentine’s Day.

Now, you’ve probably noticed that the word Day was also capitalized. On its own, the word day is a common noun – it doesn’t represent a specific day, but days in general. For instance, you can say:

  • There are 365 days a year, and yet you couldn’t find the time to visit us?

The word days isn’t capitalized in this sentence, as it represents all days of a year. With that being said, a common noun can become a proper noun when it’s used as a name. For example:

  • We were celebrating all night, so it’s no wonder my head hurt the whole New Year’s Day.

As you can see, the word Day is capitalized, as it refers to a specific named day in the year – January 1st. In the same manner, Valentine’s Day refers to February 14th. Here are a few examples:

  • Happy Valentine’s Day to my one and only. Love, John.
  • Not sure what to wear for Valentine’s Day tomorrow, but it’s definitely going to be red!
  • Flowers and chocolate are the  Valentine’s Day gift options if you ask me.
  • I was shocked to receive a Valentine’s Day card.

While on the subject, check out our article on rules regarding capitalization days of the week.

When to Use Valentine

In the context of the holiday, you’ve probably heard the name Valentine used when referring to gifts or the people those gifts are aimed at. In this case, since it doesn’t refer to St. Valentine but to people and objects in general, it becomes a common noun. 

In other words, it shouldn’t be capitalized but spelled as valentine, with a lowercase v. Let’s look at a few example sentences featuring the word valentine:

  • I wonder if anyone will ask me to be their valentine this year.
  • He makes sure to send her a valentine every single year.

As you can see, the word valentine in the first sentence means “a chosen sweetheart.” In the second example, it refers to a card or a gift that’s sent on Valentine’s Day.

As a common noun, the word valentine can be made in plural form as well. Since it’s a regular noun and ends with a vowel E, you only need to add the suffix -s to make the word plural. So, for instance, you could say:

  • I received a dozen valentines at school this year.
  • I couldn’t decide, so I asked all three of them to be my valentines.
  • Since she’s the most popular girl in her school, it’s no surprise that Sofia’s locker is packed with valentines.

Synonyms for Valentine

If you are using valentine as a common noun, you may need some alternative terms from time to time to keep your writing fresh. 

Here are some common synonyms for valentine when referring to a person.

  • Sweetie
  • Squeeze
  • Boyfriend
  • Girlfriend
  • Significant other
  • Special someone
  • Lover
  • Sweet
  • Beloved
  • Darling
  • Beau
  • Flame
  • Steady
  • Swain

And when referring to a tribute such as a gift or a card expressing affection and admiration:

  • Tribute
  • Paean
  • Homage
  • Panegyric
  • Encomium
  • Salutation
  • Commendation
  • Accolade
  • Compliment
  • Kudo


  • Viktoria is a journalist and content writer with years of experience writing magazine and newspaper articles, web copy, and blog posts. When not immersed in words, Viktoria enjoys the tranquility of the outdoors, where she finds inspiration and rejuvenation in hiking and camping.