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  1. #1
    Mori's Avatar
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    What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?


  2. #2
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    Random House uses "wish well to someone" as an example of 'well' as a noun .
    I can't find the phrase in Oxford, and MW won't load.
    In any case, it's very unlikely that these three dictionaries would label this as a different part of speech in the same phrase.

    I would call it an adjective. "They wished him well, happy and prosperous."
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 28-Oct-2017 at 11:32. Reason: Fixing typo

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    Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    Merriam-Webster calls it an adverb in 'wished them well'.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. #4
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    Yes, it could well be an adverb.

  5. #5
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Random House uses "wish well to someone" as an example of 'well' as a noun .
    I can't find the phrase in Oxford, and MW won't load.
    In any case, it's very unlikely that these three dictionaries would label this as a different part of speech in the same phrase.

    I would call it an adjective. "They wished him well, happy and prosperous."
    That wouldn't work as a sentence in American English. We'd have to say something like "They wished him well and said they hoped he'd be happy and prosperous."

    Anyhow, with different dictionaries calling it different parts of speech, it looks like a jump shot - proving once again that in the English language, the fun never quits. It doesn't even take coffee breaks!

    Good question, Mori!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. #6
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    The second entry for well(adverb) in MW reads:

    :in a kindly or friendly manner

    • spoke well of your idea


    • wished them well

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/well

    I don''t see how wishing someone well is wishing them in a kind or friendly manner. If you wish someone well, you
    feel or express a desire for someone's well-being.
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/wish_someone_well


    I agree with Raymott (post #2) that, like healthy, well is an adjective in that expression.
    Really? "Wished him healthy?" I don't think folks mean "Wished him well" that way. Do you?
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. #7
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mori View Post
    [*]It's a noun in Dictionary.com


    (Edit)
    I've found this:
    "The Dictionary.com online dictionary bases its proprietary content on the Random House unabridged."
    (Wikipedia)
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 28-Oct-2017 at 18:41.

  8. #8
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    ... and that's my preferred choice.

  9. #9
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    That wouldn't work as a sentence in American English. We'd have to say something like "They wished him well and said they hoped he'd be happy and prosperous."
    I take it to mean "They wished him [to be] well, happy and prosperous. But I've never tried to parse that phrase before. How about, "She didn't like him at all; in fact, she wished him dead"? What part of speech is 'dead', and does that sound OK in AmE?

    Anyhow, with different dictionaries calling it different parts of speech, it looks like a jump shot ...
    Have we established that different dictionaries are calling 'well' a different part of speech in the same phrase? I have never heard the phrase from the Dictionary.com entry ("to wish well to someone"), in which they call 'well' a noun.

  10. #10
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

    And my question - "She wished him dead"? A noun?

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