This is a very simple question, but I just wanted to determine if the following statement is correct or not when we want to wish a friend luck who is going to do a presentation on a conference.

Wishing you the very best of luck with your presentation.


Though grammatically valid and understandable, this sounds a bit like something you might read on a greeting card. It's a bit formal, and beginning the sentence with "Wishing you" instead of "I'm wishing you" or "We're wishing you" adds the implied subject and sounds a bit unnatural for speech.

If you're sending them a card or an email or something, this could sound perfectly fine:

Wishing you the very best of luck with your presentation!


Your Name

That sounds natural in that context. If you're speaking to them in person, though, it sounds a bit odd. "The very best of luck" sounds oddly formal, and as I mentioned before you're removing the subject from the sentence, which isn't how people normally speak. If you're talking to them in person, you might say:

I (we) wish you the best of luck with your presentation!

Still a bit formal, but adding the subject makes it more natural in speech. More natural-sounding would be:

Best of luck with your presentation!

Or most commonly said:

Good luck with your presentation!


I like Wendi's answer quite a bit, but I'd like to add that you can even make your comments shorter if the context makes it clear that you are talking about the presentation:

Bill, I'll see you tomorrow.
Oh no you won't! I'll be presenting at the conference.
Oh, I forgot about that. Best of luck!

Here, there's no need to say "with your presentation," because it's fairly apparent that's what you're talking about.

In addition to "best of luck," there are a host of other informal phrases that could be used, such as:

Knock 'em dead!
Break a leg.
I hope you wow them.
I hope it goes well.

Knock 'em dead is an expression that means, "I hope you're presentation goes so well, that you absolutely stun them." "Dead" in this sense does not mean "absent from life;" it's more referring to "dead quiet" or "dead calm," and the implication is that the audience is "dead" because they are thoroughly impressed. Cambridge calls the idiom "informal," and gives this definition:

used to tell someone to perform or play as well as they can

Break a leg is usually used in theater, where's it's considered bad luck to wish someone good luck, so you wish them good luck by saying, "Break a leg!" Though it's usually given to an actor before a performance, I've heard it borrowed for speakers giving a presentation. The ESL Cafe website even gives this example:

"I understand you have a job interview tomorrow. Break a leg!"

In I hope you wow them, NOAD lists one definition of wow as a verb, meaning to "impress and excite (someone) greatly." NOAD also lists this example usage: they wowed audiences on their recent British tour. Indeed, when wow is used as a verb, it's usually used in conjunction with an audience; you can find several examples here, including this one:

The show started off with a bang as Mike Smith wowed the audience during his opening keynote session.

In I hope it goes well, go is a very flexible word; Collins lists over 3 dozen verbal definitions. Coincidentally, Definition #14 refers a lecture:

14. to follow a course as specified; fare ⇒ "the lecture went badly"

That said, any number of examples could have been used instead; in the saying "I hope it goes well," the "it" could refer to any number of things: a lecture, a doctor's appointment, a hiking trip, a football game, a commute home. "Went well" simply means there were no glitches, no snags, no disappointments, no technical difficulties, no injuries, and no bad news. In the context of a lecture, "went well" would mean the presentation was well-received, the presenter felt comfortable, and the talk went smoothly.


The construction will sound natural if you leave the unnecessary very and instead of with, you use for. So after the changes the statement looks like:

Wishing you best of luck for your presentation.

When you are using best, you need not have to use very. Very best sounds creepy. Also we wish for, not wish with.

Also note, you can use wish too in lieu of wishing.

  • 1
    Not quite. You can in fact wish someone luck with an activity. "Good luck with that!" is quite a common phrase. There's nothing creepy about "very best" (though it is a bit formal). And also you must say "wishing you the best of luck"; you can't just wish "best of luck". And you may only use wish instead of wishing if you add a subject (ie. "I wish you the best of luck..." @aki
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 23 '13 at 15:25
  • @WendiKidd, Thank you for pointing out the errors. I have learned from this comment as well! Thank you. Albeit I have heard very best very less. It may be formal but is very necessary at all?
    – Mistu4u
    Mar 23 '13 at 15:53
  • @WendiKidd, Also is not the usages of the and very redundant here? Again, I am wishing him luck for the presentation. Isn't for in this case more acceptable than with?
    – Mistu4u
    Mar 23 '13 at 15:58
  • 1
    @Mistu4u I can "wish you luck" but I must "wish you the best luck". Saying "the very best of luck" is just over-emphasizing how much you wish them to succeed. The "very" isn't necessary, but I wouldn't call it redundant; it's just emphasizing your well-wishes. And no, I wouldn't say for here instead of with. I'm not quite sure how to explain that one, it's just how it's said. To expand: "I wish you luck (with what you do during) your presentation" or something like that, maybe? I'm not sure exactly what it's short for. I just know that's what's said. Sorry I couldn't be more specific!
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 23 '13 at 17:25

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