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Valentine vs Valentine's Day

As popular as it may be in modern western culture, “Valentine’s Day” may be a unknown holiday or phrase for non-natives, and more difficult to understand or remember for people who are not familiar with the well-known tradition behind it.Here's a brief summary for those wanting to understand the origins of the day. There was a time when marriage was forbidden for young men in order to keep them focused on building a stronger army. Supporting young lovers, though, Saint Valentine of Rome secretly married all the young couples who were in love and wanted to get married. Valentine’s Day is the celebration of couples and lovers that is kept in his honor. Now that you know this, let’s get to the definitions of “Valentine” and “Valentine’s Day”.

2:22 min read
  Charlotte B  —  Grammar Tips
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Valentine vs. Valentine’s Day

Although it’s clear that the latter is the name of a day of celebration, beginners may still be confused by the contexts where these two words are used. And that is because there’s more about them than meets the eye...

“Valentine” may seem to be the name of a person, and “Valentine’s Day” may seem as though it’s referring to that person’s birthday. But why is it, then, so important? And why do people talk about it and celebrate it every year? Well, that’s because each of these words carry particular significance and cultural value. Below you’ll get the complete explanations for both.

When do we use “Valentine”?

Sure, we can use “Valentine” when talking to someone called “Valentine”. But in the context of celebration, or in festive conditions, “Valentine” is not a name.

In fact, the noun defines a festive card, a stiff,  folded paper that is given to someone on Valentine’s Day. It usually contains a message inside, addressed to the receiver of the card. The same word may also be used when referring to a person whom someone is in love with, or whom someone wants to spend the Valentine’s Day celebration with. But there’s a certain formula when addressing someone with “Valentine”.

Here are some examples of how “Valentine” is used correctly with the meanings mentioned above:

Example 1: Did you get the Valentine I sent you yesterday? – “Valentine” is a noun defining a folded card containing a message, offered on the Valentine’s Day celebration.

Valentine vs Valentine's Day

Example 2: Will you be my Valentine? – a certain formula where “Valentine” is used to ask someone if they want to go out on Valentine’s Day, or to become the partner for Valentine's Day itself.

When do we use “Valentine’s Day”?

Valentine’s Day is the name of a special day, celebrated on the 14th of February. During this day, people give a “Valentine” (the card) to the person they are in love with, or to the person they want to get into a romantic relationship with. Nothing less, nothing more, “Valentine’s Day” is simply the name of a romantic holiday; a celebration of those in love.

Example: You are all invited to our Valentine’s Day party! – “Valentine’s Day” is a day dedicated to people who are in love or who want to be in romantic relationships, celebrated on February the 14th.


Things are pretty simple, looking at these two words. A “Valentine” is a festive card, offered to a special person whom one is already or wants to get into a romantic relationship with, during Valentine’s Day, whereas “Valentine’s Day” defines the 14th of February, a day when couples and people who want to get into a romantic relationship are celebrated. Different meanings, different structures, sharing the same common theme: celebrating romantic relationships on a special day!

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