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Is It Correct to Say “Good Luck and Godspeed”?

Manners are a big deal in American culture. They help build good impressions and friendships with others so long as one uses them correctly. There are many applications for good manners, though. For example, when someone takes on a challenge, is the phrase, “Good luck and Godspeed,” proper?

It is correct to say, “Good luck and Godspeed,” to wish someone success. As a minor sentence, it lacks the grammatical components of a complete sentence, but it still portrays an entire idea. It’s often heard as a send-off for someone embarking on a journey; however, you can also use this to wish someone success.

Stay tuned to learn more about “Good luck and Godspeed,” polite expressions, and minor sentences.

What Does “Good Luck and Godspeed” Mean?

“Good luck and Godspeed” is an intensified way of saying, “I hope you succeed.” Both parts of the statement, “good luck” and “Godspeed,” are different ways to wish success upon someone. It may seem redundant, but the use of both in the same minor sentence puts emphasis and emotion behind the words.

You may think “Godspeed” means something like “Go with the speed of God,” as in moving quickly. It looks that way since this word is a compound of “God” and “speed”; however, “speed” derives from an Old English word that means “success” (source). So, “Godspeed” translates literally into “May God give you success.”

“Good luck,” on the other hand, is straightforward. Using this phrase by itself means you wish someone “luck” that is “good.”

Combining the two is an intensified way to say, “I wish you success in your endeavor.” Another way to put it is, “I hope luck and God are on your side.

How Do You Use “Good Luck and Godspeed”?

You can use “Good luck and Godspeed” as a standalone statement. This is a minor sentence, which means it portrays its idea without any additions to the sentence. It doesn’t need an introductory sentence or fragment.

If you follow this statement with any other information, it’s part of the next idea and is separate from “Good luck and Godspeed.”

“Good luck and Godspeed” is technically missing a subject, object, and verb, but it means the same without those components. Anything that comes before or after this statement belongs to a different train of thought. This sentence functions entirely by itself.

Within the sentence itself, you don’t have to capitalize “Godspeed.” It’s acceptable to capitalize it, as we’re doing in this article, or to write it in lowercase, as in “godspeed.”

When Can You Use “Good Luck and Godspeed”?

You can use “Good luck and Godspeed” at the end of a conversation. We use it as a farewell, and it doesn’t make sense in other contexts. This statement is also a response within a conversation and only makes sense when it’s said or written to another person.

Farewells, especially when someone is going on a long journey, are fitting times to use “Good luck and Godspeed.” We use both as send-offs; however, “Godspeed” is mainly known for its use when someone is about to leave for a long and potentially dangerous journey (source).

Though “Good luck and Godspeed” is usually a farewell statement, it remains relevant for other situations. Anything that seems difficult may warrant “Good luck and Godspeed” from the well-wisher.

For example, someone who wants to take political office could receive “Good luck and Godspeed” from a well-wisher. Stepping into politics is a significant undertaking. Even though it’s not a physical journey from one location to another, it’s still a journey in its own right. So, “Good luck and Godspeed” is appropriate for this scenario.

This statement also emphasizes the speaker’s desire for the success of the person they’re speaking to. It puts emotion behind the statement, showing that the speaker truly cares for and wants the other person to do well at whatever they’re trying to do.

By itself, “Good luck and Godspeed” doesn’t portray whether the upcoming task is challenging or if the speaker simply cares a lot about the person they’re talking to. The preceding conversation’s depth of detail provides the reason for the statement and one’s intention for saying it.

Using “Good Luck and Godspeed” in a Full Sentence

To turn “Good luck and Godspeed” into a full sentence, you must add an object, subject, and verb, such as “I wish you.” The sentence then becomes, “I wish you good luck and Godspeed.” Without these components, it remains incomplete from a grammatical standpoint.

Adding these components allows the speaker to make this statement on someone else’s behalf. Here’s an example of how this works:

  • Your mother wishes you good luck and Godspeed.

On its own, “good luck and Godspeed” comes strictly from the speaker. With the addition of a subject, however, the statement can come from someone else through the speaker.

Here are a few more full sentences using “good luck and Godspeed.”:

  • Charlie wished me good luck and Godspeed.
  • She wishes you good luck and Godspeed.
  • George wishes you all good luck and Godspeed.
  • I wish them good luck and Godspeed.

When Not to Use “Good Luck and Godspeed”

Don’t use “Good luck and Godspeed” in an academic-style paper. This statement doesn’t make sense if there’s no recipient, and it only makes sense as part of a spoken or written conversation.

You can use this if you’re writing a dialogue, but steer clear of “Good luck and Godspeed” in formal works such as persuasive papers or scientific journals.

This statement doesn’t work outside of conversations and dialogues because its object, whether included or not, is always a person.

Even if you use a different subject, this statement is always made directly to a single person or a group of people, which means there has to be someone on the receiving end of the message. Since formal writing doesn’t actively address anyone in the moment of writing, “Good luck and Godspeed” doesn’t work.

The only instance where this phrase is usable without an immediate recipient is if you’re telling a story in which you witnessed the use of the statement and you’re recounting the moment. For example, you could say:

  • Charlie wished George good luck and Godspeed.

Even though it’s in the past tense, the original statement was still made directly to “George,” so this wouldn’t make any sense if “George” wasn’t there to receive it.

What Can You Use Instead of “Good Luck and Godspeed”?

Any alternative for “good luck” or “Godspeed” makes a good substitute. Both statements wish success upon the recipient, so other words with equivalent meanings work well. “Best of luck,” “Best wishes,” “Fingers crossed,” and “Bon voyage” are good options.

Let’s look at each example since they aren’t all obvious in meaning. We put them into a table along with the meaning behind the expression.

Best of luck.This one literally means, “I wish you the best of luck.”
Best wishes.Another clear statement with the same meaning as “Best of luck.
Fingers crossed.Derives from the superstition that crossing your fingers brings good luck. When you tell someone, “Fingers crossed,” you’re saying you’re trying to bring them good fortune.
Bon voyage.This French statement literally translates to “good journey” (source). “Bon” is pronounced as it looks, but you say “voyage” according to the French pronunciation of the word.

Polite Expressions as Minor Sentences

There are many polite expressions in English. These expressions were shortened from their original, complete form through time and frequent use and became minor sentences. Statements such as “Thank you” or “Good morning” are condensed versions of a complete sentence, but they still portray the idea behind the statement.

Image by Compare Fibre via Unsplash

Minor sentences lack the structure of a complete sentence, but they still function as one (source). Much in the way of shorthand, these polite statements took on the form of a minor sentence as their use grew in frequency to make the idea easier and quicker to express without having to say every single word of the sentence.

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The following table lists some common polite expressions in their minor sentence form and complete form.

Minor SentenceFull Meaning
Thank you.I thank you.
Good morning.I hope you have a good morning.
Best wishes.I wish you the best in what you’re doing.
Pardon me.May I have your attention?
Please.Yes, I would like that.

If you want to learn more about polite expressions that are also minor sentences, take a look at our other article, Is It Correct to Say “Hope You Arrived Safely”?

Final Thoughts

It’s always a good idea to be polite. Manners remain essential from the start to the finish of a conversation. Sometimes, as the conversation ends, you want to use a polite expression that packs a more significant punch than a simple “Goodbye,” mainly when saying goodbye to someone about to depart on a challenging undertaking.

That’s where “Good luck and godspeed” comes in. It may seem overwhelming to tackle minor sentences such as this, where their meaning isn’t exactly clear, but keep working at it, and you’ll have it in no time. Bon voyage!