It's Dave's 40th Birthday on Saturday and there have been emails and texts sent with the headline - "Dave's 40".

Not sure if this is correct, can anyone help?



  • 4
    I would interpret 'Dave's 40' as meaning 'Dave is 40'. 'Dave's 40th' would refer to the fact that it was his 40th birthday. – WS2 Jul 18 '14 at 8:14
  • I think about "Dave's 40's" , But i'm not sure , too . – Mohamed Hamza Jul 18 '14 at 8:16

As WS2 commented, the common way to title the invitation would be:

Dave's 40th

Which will be taken to mean, "Dave's 40th birthday."

If you just wrote:

Dave's 40

It would be taken to mean, "Dave is 40," which could also work, it would just be a bit less common. You'd probably expect a following line to say something like:

And he's having a party!

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    +1 The term Dave's has two meanings. One is possessive (belonging to Dave), and the other is a contraction (Dave is). – bib Jul 18 '14 at 12:47

It is a contraction of Dave is 40.

An apostrophe doesn't just indicate the possessive, it can indicate a contraction.

It is perfectly common in normal speech to shorten is to 's. For example; The weather's hot, this food's tasty.

I wouldn't expect to use it in formal written English, but for emails, texts and birthday cards it is fine.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.