Sometimes we have to say goodbye to people we know. Even though we do not want them to go, we wish them well. One of the ways we can let them know we hope they experience good things is to say “good luck and farewell.”
It is correct to say “Good luck and farewell” to someone who is leaving for an extended time or permanently. We usually say this formally, but we can say it informally. If someone leaves for another job, you can say “Good luck and farewell” to let them know you wish them success in their new position.
What Does “Good Luck And Farewell’ Mean
We say “Good luck and farewell” to let others know we want good things for them when they leave to seize a new opportunity. It is a good way to let them know we care about them and their success.
The term “Good luck” is an idiom that we often use as a polite expression to wish success for someone. Sometimes we use it sarcastically to express that we do not believe something is possible (source). For example, we might say “Good luck” to a friend applying for a job we hope they get.
“Farewell” is a formal word for goodbye (source). It comes from the words “fare” and “well,” and its first known use was in the fourteenth century. “Fare” means to go on a journey or to travel, and “well” means to be healthy and happy (source).
So when you say “Farewell,” you aren’t simply saying goodbye; you are telling someone you hope they will have healthy and happy travels on the journey they are taking. It is a friendly and respectful way to say goodbye.
So when you say “Good luck and farewell,” you express a deep desire for a person to experience success, health, and happiness as they take the next steps in their life, often toward a new endeavor.
Adding “Good luck” to the expression allows you to use it informally for people you are close to who are trying something new in their life or leaving for an extended trip. However, because it is a polite expression, it is also acceptable to use it formally.
How Do You Use “Good Luck and Farewell”?
You use “Good luck and farewell” when you say goodbye to someone taking an extended trip, starting a new job, moving schools, or moving to a new city. You say it to wish them the best and to let them know you care about their success.
You can use it in formal settings when you have a colleague leaving to start a new job. Since you are at work, it is a formal setting. For instance, you might write “Good luck and farewell” on a goodbye card or say it to them as they leave the office for the last time.
Sometimes we have friends we care about or family members that leave for a long time. For example, they may have to move to a new city or take a long trip for a specific purpose. As a result, we may not be able to speak to them for a couple of weeks or months.
When this happens, we may say “Good luck and farewell” to them even though it is informal because they are people we know well. It is still an excellent way to let them know you care. When they are going through security at the airport, you might call out, “Good luck and farewell!”
When Can You Use “Good Luck And Farewell’?
You can use “Good luck and farewell” any time you want to wish someone well because you care about their success as they leave to do something new in their life.
You can use “Good luck and farewell” for a co-worker leaving the company to start a new job or going on a several-week business trip. For example, you might say, “Good luck and farewell with the search for new clients,” if they are going on a sales trip to increase the company’s client base.
If you have a friend going on a six-month trip to study in a different country, you can say “Good luck and farewell” the last time you see them in place of “Goodbye.” This lets them know you want them to succeed in school and life over the following months.
You might also say it if you have a friend taking an extended holiday to rest from overwork. You could say, “Good luck and farewell in your rest!” to tell them you care about them and hope they achieve rest.
You might also use it in a speech to a graduating class if you are valedictorian. After sharing your feelings about the importance of education and the expectations for them over the following years, you could end the speech with “Good luck and farewell” to encourage everyone to be successful in the years ahead.
You can also say it to your classmates if you are not valedictorian but are at your graduation banquet and will not see them for a long time.
Using “Good Luck and Farewell” in a Full Sentence
“Good luck and farewell” is a minor sentence, so you can use it alone, or you can use it as part of a longer sentence. Minor sentences are phrases you use as a sentence in speech and writing but do not have the subject, predicate, and complete thought structure of a full sentence (source).
Since “Good luck and farewell” is a minor sentence, it usually makes the most sense independently or when you add only a few other words to make a shorter sentence.
For example, you could say to someone leaving, “Good luck and farewell in your travels.” Here you have added only a few words that give some context but not so much information that it becomes confusing or distracts from your well-wishes.
You do not want to use too many words when you use “Good luck and farewell” as part of a longer sentence. For example, you would not say, “Good luck and farewell in your travels to Europe for the next six months.” You imply the extra information in your context. Too much information distracts from the main message.
As discussed above, you use “Good luck and farewell” when someone you wish success is leaving. Here are some examples of how you might use it as part of a sentence rather than by itself:
- Good luck and farewell in your new job.
- Good luck and farewell in your studies.
- Good luck and farewell in your life’s adventures.
- As you move forward in your education, good luck and farewell.
- As you begin life in a new city, good luck and farewell.
In the examples above, you can see that “good luck and farewell” can stand at the beginning or end of the sentence when you add more words for context. Notice that each sentence is short and does not have too much information to water down the hope for success.
When Not to Use “Good Luck and Farewell”
You do not use “Good luck and farewell” if you do not wish someone well or when you are saying goodbye to someone for only a short period of time.
When you do not like the person leaving and are happy to see them go, you may not want to wish them well. But, of course, it is good to be polite and say goodbye, sometimes even “Good luck,” but you do not have to say “farewell.”
You also would not use it when you are saying goodbye to someone who is only leaving for a short time. For example, when you say goodbye to a parent leaving for the day to go to work, you do not say, “Good luck and farewell.”
Similarly, you do not say it when leaving your friends who will see you soon. If it is an average day or week and nothing special is going on that needs luck, you simply need to say “Goodbye” or “See you later.”
What Can You Use Instead of “Good Luck and Farewell”?
“Good luck and farewell” is one of many ways to formally wish someone well as they leave and do something new in their life. There are also many ways to informally wish someone success in whatever they are doing.
If you want to send someone with your well-wishes formally but do not want to say “Good luck and farewell,” you can use one of the following sayings instead:
- Best of luck.
- Goodbye and take care.
- Bon Voyage.
- Kind regards.
- Wish you well.
If you want to wish a friend or family success and you feel that “Good luck and farewell” is too formal, you can use some of these options:
- Break a leg.
- So long.
- Have a good trip.
- Wish you all the best.
- Wish you lots of luck.
Polite Expressions as Minor Sentences
A minor sentence is a phrase you use as a complete sentence even though it does not follow the grammatical rules for complete sentences (source). There are many minor sentences in English, and they are usually impactful and meaningful because they are short.
Polite expressions are phrases you use in situations that demonstrate respect and politeness to the people you speak to. Many polite expressions are minor sentences. When you use them, you emphasize your consideration for other people.
Some polite expressions that are common in English are:
- Good luck!
- Thank you.
- If you please.
- Excuse me.
- Do you mind?
These expressions do not have a subject or predicate, and some are not complete thoughts on their own. However, they make sense in the context you use them.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
For example, when you say “Excuse me” to someone because you need to move through a crowd, you imply you need a specific person to move out of the way. The listener understands it as a complete sentence. Check out our article Is It Correct to Say “Sounds Great”? for more information on minor sentences.
It is tough to say goodbye to the folks we care about, especially if we will not see them for a long time. However, we often want to tell them that we care about them and wish for their success while they are away.
Sometimes it is family and friends we care about, and sometimes it is people we do not know as well. Either way, it can help ease the parting to leave them with sweet well-wishes by simply saying “Good luck and farewell.”