Which one is correct, “best wishes to you” or “best wishes for you”?

There are many expressions in the English language that we rattle off without thinking. When we sit back to analyze what we are actually saying, it can sometimes be confusing. Part of why this may be confusing is we may in reality be saying those expressions wrong. As expressions are repeated and used carelessly, they often start to transform and lose a certain amount of accuracy. One example of this is wishing well on someone. The question is, which one is correct: “best wishes to you” or “best wishes for you”?

Although there does seem to be some debate on the topic, most have come to agree that “best wishes to you” is actually the correct way to express this sentiment. Whether speaking American English or British English, this seems to be the case across the board. The time when “for” is used in this expression are for phrases such as “best wishes for the new year”. In this example, a duration of time or identified time frame is being used. In such cases. “for” is a more appropriate connector.

One way to view the use of “best wishes to you” is to see it as a giving process. You give something “to” another person, therefore wishing to give best wishes to someone would also utilize this “to” phrasing. To break it down grammatically, the sentence takes on an ablative structure, therefore the use of “to” is the more logical and appropriate choice. A subtle difference, but a crucial one.


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