Hopes & Wishes for the New Year

“Happy New Year everyone!”

“I hope all your wishes come true this year”

“I wish you a great year filled with happy surprises”

Perhaps you said something like this on New Year’s Eve, or perhaps you wanted to say this, but got a little confused along the way.

Hopes & Wishes for the New Year
How do you correctly wish someone a “Happy New Year” in English?

These wishes and hopes are a natural part of social occasions like holidays, birthdays, New Year’s Eve, and other celebrations. There are so many good vibes, good intentions and positive moments that come from these, so in this post I’ll give you a few basic formulas for new year greetings & wishes that you can use at that perfect moment.

Hope vs Wish

Many English learners use “wish” too often in social situations. It’s probably because of expressions like:

we wish you a merry Christmas
I wish you all the best
I wish you good luck

These are classic expressions, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that those wish expressions have no verbs. “good luck”, “all the best” are only noun phrases. Using ‘wish‘ for social situations in English can be done, but you have to be careful to make sure that you don’t use a verb.

* Wish grammar is very specific, so using ‘wish + verb’ can have a very different meaning. For example, the English sentence “I wish I was taller” means that it is impossible to be taller, and I am dreaming of something unrealistic. So saying “I wish you are successful” might imply that the person is not successful, or that their future success is a unrealistic. Of course, the listener can guess your real meaning, but if they don’t, the moment can turn awkward.

Essentially the ‘hope + subject + verb‘ is the most useful, versatile format. It usually has a positive feeling. You can use it for almost any occasion or situation. It can be used for the past, the future, and the present tenses. In short, use “hope” and you’ll be correct more often.

WISH + NOUN

* This form is used to talk about other people
We wish you a merry Christmas
I wish you good health / a quick recovery / all the best
I wish you a safe trip / a pleasant journey / a speedy return

HOPE + SUBJECT + VERB

I hope (that) you have a merry Christmas
I hope (that) you have a safe trip / a pleasant journey / a speedy return
I hope (that) I pass my exam.

HOPE + TO INFINITIVE

* This form is used to talk about yourself
I hope to see that opera some day
I hope to visit Vatican City

If you missed the opportunity to practise these on New Year’s Eve, there’s always next year. You’ll be sure to give your New Year’s wishes in perfect style.

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