I'm not a native English speaker, but this sounds strange to me. Is it grammatically correct to say "all the best forever" when wishing someone?

  • 1
    'I wish you all the best' is itself extra-grammatical as discussed on this thread. So discussing the grammaticality of 'I wish you all the best forever' seems unwise. Like you, I find it strange-sounding, perhaps over-flowery. Perhaps 'All the best, now and always' is an improvement. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '17 at 7:23
  • @EdwinAshworth I've looked at that thread. But wishing someone "all the best", either in spoken or written form, is a perfectly everyday parting greeting (at least in Britain it is). It is less formal than a mere "goodbye" (spoken) or "yours sincerely" (written), but nonetheless widely used. "All the best forever" would be a very unusual format. – WS2 May 12 '17 at 7:30
  • @WS2 'Extra-grammatical' and 'perfectly everyday expression' are not mutually exclusive. 'All of a sudden' uses grammar that is far from standard, but the expression is totally idiomatic. Moon has a section on 'extra-grammatical idioms' in her thorough treatment, 'Set expressions and idioms ...'. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '17 at 7:36
  • @EdwinAshworth I should have added, that I see nothing ungrammatical about (I wish you) all the best forever. – WS2 May 12 '17 at 7:47
  • @WS2 Again, I chose the label carefully. 'Extra-grammatical' (using a [highly] unusual but not unacceptable construction) is not 'ungrammatical' (using an unacceptable construction) . – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '17 at 8:10

From your question, I think you're splitting up the sentence wrongly, because you are considering "all the best forever" as a separate part.

The correct split would be:

(I) (wish) (you all) (the best) (forever)

  • (you all) = "all of you"
  • (the best) = what I am wishing for
  • (forever) = how long I want this to continue

However, in the interest of not sounding too heavy, I would drop the "forever".

I wish you all the best.

You don't need to say forever, because no one is particularly thinking that you are setting an expiration date on your wishes.

As per the comments, there is a second interpretation possible:

(I) (wish) (you) (all the best) (forever)

It doesn't particularly change the meaning of the sentence, only which part is stressed by the speaker. However, you can't determine that by reading it, it can only really be clear when spoken.

  • 1
    I don't agree that [all the best] cannot be cohesive. 'All the best!' is a standard benediction, often addressed to a single person. In any case, you need to present evidence that your parse is the only one possible. And the previous thread has answers arguing that this is not so. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '17 at 7:26
  • @EdwinAshworth: Fair enough. The "all" could be considered part of either adjacent grouping. However, it does seem relevant to disconnect the "forever", because it isn't particularly needed to make a complete sentence. I will update my answer to reflect both possibilities. – Flater May 12 '17 at 7:45
  • Whether it's you (all the best) or (you all) the best can normally very easily be deducted from context. If the sender addresses one person it is highly unlikely they would adress that one person as you all. I dare say that I encounter I wish you all the best in most cases addressed to a single person, and I read the OP's sentence automatically as I wish you (all the best). – oerkelens May 12 '17 at 8:41
  • @oerkelens: The context of who is being addressed is indeed relevant (since English does not make a distinction between singular and plural you, which I find ridiculous as Dutch (my native language) makes three distinctions). However, even if it is known to be plural, you can still put the "all" in either group. I think the only real way to figure out the speaker's intention is to hear how he stresses the sentence while saying it out loud. – Flater May 12 '17 at 8:45
  • @Flater there is a singular you in English (thou, thee) but it has gotten a bit out of use, it seems :) – oerkelens May 12 '17 at 8:47

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