‘Christmas is’ vs. ‘Christmas are’ – singular or plural?

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

In some languages, “Christmas” is a plural noun, and since the English word for Christmas ends with an “s”, it sometimes makes English learners think they should use a plural verb with it.

However, the English word Christmas comes from Christ’s mass, and “mass” is a singular noun. There is no reason to say “Christmas are”; the only correct form is “Christmas is”:

Christmas is a traditional holiday. (correct)
Christmas are a traditional holiday. (wrong)

This naturally applies to all verbs, not just “to be”:

Christmas has always been a time for family and friends. (correct)
Christmas have always been a time for family and friends. (wrong)

Also, don’t forget that the corresponding determiner is “this”, not “these”:

What are you going to do this Christmas? (correct)
What are you going to do these Christmas? (wrong)

and similarly for “that”we would say “that Christmas”, not “those Christmas”.

By the way, if you haven’t read my guide on how to avoid the most common mistakes in English, make sure to check it out; it deals with similar topics.

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