4ths of July

Grefsen

Senior Member
English - United States
Is the following sentence is my use of "4ths of July" correct?

After flying from London to Los Angeles I'm back again in southern California after one of the best and by far the longest 4ths of July I've ever experienced.

Thanks!
 
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  • Forero

    Senior Member
    I am not sure if "one of by far the longest 4ths of July" makes sense. If I meant "by far the longest 4th of July", I would either leave off the s or put "4ths of July" before the and.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "Independence Days", "July Fourths", and "4ths of July" are all acceptable plurals.

    "Fourth of July holidays" might mean days other than the actual Fourth.

    If "one of the best" calls for a plural but "by far the longest" calls for a singular, the correct form after "by far the longest" is the singular.
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I am not sure if "one of by far the longest 4ths of July" makes sense. If I meant "by far the longest 4th of July", I would either leave off the s or put "4ths of July" before the and.
    How about the following instead:

    After flying from London to Los Angeles yesterday, I'm back in southern California again after one of the best 4ths of July I've ever experienced and by far the longest 4th of July (33 hours!!).
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    How about the following instead:

    After flying from London to Los Angeles yesterday, I'm back in southern California again after one of the best 4ths of July I've ever experienced and by far the longest 4th of July (33 hours!!).
    That does sound repetitive. You can leave off the "4th of July" at the end since I think it would be understood.
     

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    At the risk of incurring the wrath of the grammar brigade, I would say " ... after one of the best and longest Independence Day I've ever experienced". If there is a grammatical need for the plural, I would blissfully ignore it because putting an S somewhere looks and sounds really weird.

    You are welcome to give me thirty lashes with a wet noodle. :p
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Speaking of noodles, would it be acceptable to write:
    "Using one of the best and longest noodle I have ever owned, I flogged SwissPete to within an inch of his life."

    And back to what I guessed-but-could-be-wrong is the topic: is the plural of 4th of July really 4ths of July?

    We have a kind of similar ethnic custom here in that parts of our community celebrate on the 12th of July. Fortunately, this has become so enshrined in common parlance as "The Twelfth" that we don't have the same problem as our emigré brethren in the US of A. Singular twelfth, plural twelfths, is more than enough to identify what we are talking about.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I would say "one of the longest 4th of Julys", because "4th of July" is how I ordinarily refer to the holiday, and I think "one of the" requires a plural, being a group. Or I would say "July 4ths" (thus avoiding the question of whether it should be Julys or Julies). This does not mean, of course, that anyone else should do the same.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "The Fourth" would be equally understood here, and the plural "Fourths". I once arrived in London, with my uncle, aunt, and five cousins, on July 3, and one of my young cousins asked the limousine driver whether there would be a celebration in London on the Fourth. Needless to say, the driver said "Fourth of what?" Even upon being prompted with the month, he had to ask "Celebration of what?"

    Interesting about July 4, July 12, and the French July 14. Where I live, it's "hot as a firecracker" on any of those dates.

    After "one of the best and longest", a singular is what sounds weird to me. I will, however, advise that the "cat" be kept in its bag.

    "4th of Julys" works for me too, but only among familiar people.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    A quick peek with Google gave me 2,700 "4ths of July".

    E.g. :
    Sure, we’ve seen a million 4ths of July.
    With all those celebrations I was thinking about 4ths of July past in my life.
    &c, &c.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    A quick peek with Google gave me 2,700 "4ths of July".

    E.g. :
    Sure, we’ve seen a million 4ths of July.
    With all those celebrations I was thinking about 4ths of July past in my life.
    &c, &c.
    Similarly, we find 2,640 "4th of Julys".

    There does not seem to be a decisive preference.

    (I would, by the way, refer to "5ths of July", that not being in itself a fixed phrase.)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I would have guessed that it was "4th of Julys", just as I would say, "Cinco de Mayos", not "Cincos de Mayo." To me, the phrase is a complete name in itself. If I were speaking casually I might say, "That was one of the best 4ths I've ever had", but I'm pretty sure I would say, "4th of Julys" if I included the month. One of the problems with "4ths of July" for me is that it sounds like you've split July into quarters somehow. It sounds like '1/4ths of July". :)
     

    olliemae

    Senior Member
    New Zealand/America, English
    After flying from London to Los Angeles I'm back again in southern California after one of the best and by far the longest 4ths of July I've ever experienced.
    I think the problem you're encountering stems from this. Let me replace "4th of July" with birthday, just to avoid that issue for the moment.
    It was one of the best birthdays I've ever experienced.
    It was by far the longest birthday I've ever experienced.

    So the problem is that "4th of July" should and shouldn't be plural, all at the same time. Personally, I would avoid it entirely by rewording the sentence. If you must keep it like that, I suggest the notional idea that "4th of July" is the name of the holiday, and should be pluralized at the end of the whole thing. (4th of Julys)
    This is not like the mother-in-law/mothers-in-law situation, because it's not hyphenated.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Actually hyphenation or the lack of it does not determine the plural:

    Attorneys general.
    Major generals.
    Mothers-in-law.
    You-know-whats.
    Fleurs-de-lys
    (pronounced with the z sound on the end, not after the r).

    Thanksgivings.
    Fourth Thursdays in November.
    Wednesdays of Holy Week(s?).
    Sadie Hawkins Days.
    Ides of March
    (same singular or plural).
    Fourths of July
    (or informally 4th of Julys).
    July Fourths.

     
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