A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated my 42nd birthday. As usually, I received hundreds of wishes through Linked, Facebook, and various other social media sites and newsletters. One thing I noticed is that the way people write “happy birthday” varies.

A common method was “Happy Birthday Kim”.

In extending a grammatically correct birthday greeting, there are 3 things to keep in mind.

  1. Birthday is a common noun. This means you don’t capitalize it. It’s not like Christmas or Hallowe’en, which are specific holidays so are proper names. One’s birthday, on the other hand, is not a specific holiday—everyone has one—so it’s treated as a common noun.
  2. Happy is capitalized sometimes. Happy also isn’t a proper noun (Heck, it’s not even a noun.), so it’s capitalized only as the first word in a sentence or perhaps in the title of a song.
  3. Use a comma. Whenever you address someone with their name, precede it with a comma.

Using those 3 tips, here’s how to write a grammatically correct Facebook birthday greeting:

Happy birthday, Kim!


Have a happy birthday, Kim!

Now you know.

About Kim Siever

I am a copywriter and copyeditor. I blog on writing tips mostly, but I sometimes throw in my thoughts about running a small business. Follow me on Twitter at @hotpepper.

Pin It on Pinterest

Free monthlywriting tips!

Free monthlywriting tips!

Sign up to receive monthly writing tips. Learn how to write better.

Thanks for signing up for our monthly writing tips!