Show of Force

Tomorrow is “Star Wars” Day. For the uninitiated, the ​informal holiday​ is a play on the date, May 4, and one of the franchise’s most well-known phrases: “May the Force be with you.”

Use "Star Wars" Day for the informal May 4 holiday: "She wore a 'May the 4th Be With You' shirt for 'Star Wars' Day."

Now, if you strictly follow the rules, you would write “May the fourth.” That’s because the ordinals “first” through “ninth” are spelled out, then you start using numerals at “10th.” But since we use numerals for all dates, most people celebrating this holiday ​write​ “May the 4th.”

You’ll sometimes see it written as “May the Fourth,” though. That follows the rules for ordinals, but what about capitalization? You could argue it’s in honor of the holiday, but there’s a greater power at work.

Yes, we’re speaking of the Force, which is a proper noun, according to the ​Wookieepedia Manual of Style​ (h/t to subscriber Matthew Ott for sharing this guide with us). So if “fourth” is a play on “Force,” “Star Wars” fans want it capitalized.

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