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You Ask: Is it correct to say "Advanced Happy Birthday" or "Advance Happy Birthday"? Or should I just say Happy Birthday in Advance?"

Grammar Pulis Answers: Hmm, I am so used to saying Advance Happy Birthday, so I never really wondered about its grammatical soundness. Until now.

Let's analyze.

First, let's consider the meaning of both words, advance and advanced. Both can be used as adjectives. There are, however, slight differences in the usage.

Dictionary.com says that advance is an adjective that describes something that is given, made, or issued in advance. A couple of examples are: advance payment and advance copy.

Advanced, on the other hand, is an adjective for describing something that is further along in progress or something enlightened. For example, Advanced English Program, advanced theories.

Based on the definitions, it would seem then that the former is more appropriate than the latter.

BUT, this requires more analysis. The second thing we need to look at is what the word advance is modifying. If we say that it is modifying the word birthday, then that does not make sense because the birthday is not advanced. The one that is being given in advance is the greeting. That means then that both Advance Happy Birthday and Advanced Happy Birthday are grammatically wrong. So, you really are better off saying, Happy Birthday in advance. Or just say, Happy Birthday.

Personally, however, I wouldn't mind it so much if anybody says Advance/Advanced Happy Birthday to me. I mean what kind of rude, grammar-obsessed person would I be if I slapped a grammar violation fine on a person who is being nice to me?

As the Grammar Pulis, I would let something like this nonstandard usage slide, then I'll smile, and just take the gift that goes with the greeting.


Advance Happy Easter! Oops, that should be Happy Easter in advance.

7 Comments:

  1. Every Photo Tells A Story said...
    Hmmm, I'm so used to saying, "Happy Belated Birthday." So, this adance/advanced issue never worries me:)

    But, thank you, Gege. What would we do without the Grammar Police!!?

    You need a superman's outfit with the letters "GP" sewn in the front(lol)

    Have a great weekend.

    ~Nancy
    gege said...
    Thanks, Nancy. I know what you mean about belated greetings. I'm guilty too.

    Now, you're giving me ideas. The truth is I've been percolating ideas for a grammar police photo shoot. And I need a costume.
    Every Photo Tells A Story said...
    Well, I can only help with the colors. Because of your blog background, I think black and pink would be perfect somehow. Perhaps, like this one but not so sexy and maybe wearing librarian glasses and holding a dictionary (lol)
    Costume And, of course with GP on the shirt!

    Or, if you can get your hands on a police hat and shirt(or security guard shirt), and sew on the GP (in pink). (Let me know when you have it up on your blog.)
    Leopoldo MP said...
    "BUT, this requires more analysis. The second thing we need to look at is what the word advance is modifying. If we say that it is modifying the word birthday, then that does not make sense because the birthday is not advanced. The one that is being given in advance is the greeting." -- Very good grammatical analysis. The foregoing line, though, explains why "advance happy birthday" is also correct, though native English speakers prefer to use the circumlocutory "Happy birthday in advance". In either formulation, what is being advanced is the greeting "Happy Birthday" itself.
    Not a Grammar Nazi said...
    I agree with you, Grammar Pulis. However, if you contain the greeting of "Happy birthday" in quotes, Advance "Happy birthday" would seem appropriate.
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