[Grammar] What part of speech is "well" in "wish somebody well"?

Raymott

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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."
 
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Matthew Wai

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Merriam-Webster calls it an adverb in 'wished them well'.
 

Raymott

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Yes, it could well be an adverb.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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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!
 

Charlie Bernstein

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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?
 

Rover_KE

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... and that's my preferred choice.
 

Raymott

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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.
 

Raymott

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

Mori

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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.
Oxford dictionaries are simply the best, but in this case well seems more like a noun to me, especially when I compare it with wish somebody luck (n.). On the other hand, wish somebody well might be a fixed expression of good wishes originally used as wish somebody to be well (adj.) — not sure if it makes any sense, just a wild guess!
 

Mori

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'Wellness' is a noun; 'well' is not.


In citations in the Google Books Corpus, I found


wish him a Japanese house, a British cook, a Chinese salary and an American wife
wish him victory
wish him luck
wish him a speedy recovery
wish him a safe trip


wish him destroyed
wish him gone
wish him back
wish him disengaged

wish him dead
wish him unhappy
wish him thin
wish him well
wish him ill

wish him away
wish him here


In the ones I have coloured red, what is wished is a noun. That does not mean that the past participles, adjectives and adverbs in the ones I have coloured blue nouns.
Yes, it's definitely an adjective considering the meaning of wish, i.e. wish=want. :up:
wish somebody/something/yourself + adj. He's dead and it's no use wishing him alive again.
Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


want somebody/something + adj. Do you want your coffee black or white?
Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
 
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