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I have seen both the prepositions being used, but wonder which is correct. If both are correct, what is the rule for the correct usage?

The same may apply to other phrases. For example, 'Greetings of the season' or 'Greetings for the season'

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    'Season's Greetings' is the usual form. Correctness doesn't really come in to it, but most people say 'Happy New Year' or 'Best wishes for the New Year'. Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 10:01
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    I have seen both the prepositions being used, Can you please give an example, with a link/ the source, for "Greetings of the season"? Personally, I see this as wrong.
    – user81561
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 11:48
  • ' "Compliments of the Season" ' seems the odd one out hereabouts. Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 13:06

3 Answers 3

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Usage

In usage, "greetings for the new year" currently trumps "greetings of the new year".¹

Ngram - "greetings for the new year" vs. "greetings of the new year"

The two followed a similar trend until the late 1800s, when the former overtook.

Analysis

Semantic analyses of the phrase against the sensible meanings of "for" and "of":

Seasonal greeting Preposition Sense Suitability
Greetings for the new year for having the purpose of not really suitable
Greetings for the new year for on the occasion of or at the time of very suitable
Greetings of the new year of used to show possession, belonging, or origin not suitable
Greetings of the new year of about; relating to suitable; vague
  • The strongest contender for "for" is "on the occasion of": greetings on the occasion of the new year makes much more sense than anything else on the list. "For" also has more suitable candidates.
  • As for "of", greetings about the new year is somewhat apt but quite vague.

Conclusion

Therefore, the semantics support the usage in this case, and greetings for the new year seems to be the better choice.

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  • Impressive-looking. Sadly, OP most likely is referring to salutation (standalone) forms, as he capitalises in every string. There are mainly non-standalone ('He extended warm greetings for the new year', etc) false-positives in the above results. Also, observing how often any of OP's suggestions are used compared with 'Happy New Year' [Google ngrams] seems to make 'very suitable' very spurious. Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 14:28
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They both seem convoluted to me. "Season's Greetings" or "Happy New Year!" is better.

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  • can you provide the research you have done in order to answer?
    – fev
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 14:40
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    As a native speaker of American English I agree with this answer and don't think it needs any supporting research. However, it could be noted that while the answer from @fev does a good job of explaining the usage in historical context going back hundreds of years, this answer is referring to current common usage. I've never heard a native speaker say, 'Greetings for the New Year' in conversation, much less 'Greetings of the New Year'. The latter is archaic. We don't use the preposition 'of' in that way any more.
    – dwilli
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 7:04
  • @Dwili: The answer you refer to is not mine. I haven't posted any answer to this question.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 8:02
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You may refer to below. (I am not a native English speaker so I understand what you ask about well because I had similar questions as a non-native speaker once upon a time in the past.)

the legs of the table (table is an inorganic thing and "of" is like a possessive case; "the table's legs" is a literary and personified expression considering the table as a person)

the legs for the table (you have the legs for the table: maybe, you have to install or repair the legs for the table)

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  • You persistently post answers without research. I hope you find a way to overcome this tendency which is not so profitable for this site.
    – fev
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 14:39

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