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There was a car accident I was involved and my car was hitten by another car from behind. When leaving I said "Good luck" to the driver of the other car, I was trying to wish good luck to him instead of such bad luck today. I felt he is a little angry after I said that. Is "Good luck" sarcastic in such a context? Thanks.

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    Your car was hit by another car. I think saying "Good luck" in those circumstances would imply "Something bad is going to happen to you so you will need good luck." Jan 25, 2023 at 9:27

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You are right to be sensitive to the implications of that statement. But that sensitivity is not a technical English issue. It's more an issue of empathy (empathy means connecting with another person's feelings.)

As a language issue, "Good luck!" simply means what it says: a wish for someone to have good fortune in the future. But it's also true that the context matters. For example, imagine wishing someone good luck in these situations:

  1. Just after they crashed their car.
  2. Just before they take the test for their driving licence.

I can understand how some people at least would feel differently in those two settings.

Finally, note that tone of voice matters, particularly with sarcasm. It's not just the words, but the way we say them. This is much harder to assess, and I'm not suggesting you were deliberately negative in any way. But the point is that words alone are not the whole story.

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