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20 Different Ways To Wish ‘Happy Birthday’

Today, I am going to teach you better alternative ways of wishing people happy birthday, and happy anniversary.

Right, let's get started with the lesson.

Let's start with happy birthday.

Okay, this is a very common phrase, and we tend to repeat the same thing over and over again.

But today, I'm going to show you 14 interesting, witty, and funny ways of wishing somebody a happy birthday.

Now the first one is mainly used jokingly, via text message.

Sometimes if we want to wish somebody a happy birthday, but we don't want to act like we're putting in too much effort, we just say HB.


HB, and everybody knows what it means.

In these big WhatsApp groups we have now, it's very common in the UK to just have a page full of HB.

It's quite funny.

Some people consider it rude, but I think as long as the receiver knows that you're joking, it's nice.

We have number two, which is commonly found inside birthday cards.

It is many happy returns.

Many happy returns.

Now, when I was a child, I never understood this phrase when I saw it on birthday cards.

But it means many happy returns of the day.

As in, I hope you have many more birthdays.

I hope you live a long life.

So many happy returns is a very nice one.

It's slightly more formal.

Number three is have a great one.

Have a great one.

This one is very informal.

Sometimes we use the word one in place of something that is already known to the listener.

Have a great one, they know that I'm talking about their birthday.

Have a great day, have a great birthday, have a great one.

In number four, we have an alternative phrase for birthday.

It is special day.

On your birthday, on your special day.

You more or less know that if it's somebody's special day, it's their birthday.

Unless it's their wedding, or another celebration like that.

So you could say, I wish you the best on your special day.

Number five is slightly fancier.

It is wishing you a day that is as special as you are. So fancy.

Wishing you a day that is as special as you are.

Now it should be, I am wishing, or we are wishing, but sometimes we just shorten it down to wishing you were here, I am wishing you were here, wishing you a great day.

We're wishing you a great day.

Another alternative, wishing you many more candles to blow.

When we have a birthday, we blow out a certain number of candles on our cake.

So we're implying that we hope the person lives for a long time.

This tends to be a theme.

A really nice alternative way of just saying happy birthday.

So much more interesting, wishing you many more candles to blow.

Number seven is a funny one.

It is happy 21st.

Happy 21st birthday.

Now why do we use 21st in particular?

If somebody is quite a lot older than 21, often we'll say, happy 21st, pretending that we don't think they look any older than 21 years old.

I wonder if you have this in your own language, and if it's the same number, 21, or if it's a different number.

Is there a dream age at which everyone wants to remain?

Number eight is a really nice one.

May your day be filled with laughter and presents.

Obviously the most important thing about birthdays, apart from the cake, presents.

I get so excited about giving and receiving presents.Number nine, this is something that you can say to people who really like beer.

Happy beer day, happy beer day! (laughing) 'Cause a birthday is a fantastic excuse to drink far more beer than usual.

Number 10 is a funny one.

It is, hmm, didn't we celebrate this just a year ago?Terrible!

I love it though.

I really like number 11, it is, congratulations, you survived another trip around the sun.

'Cause obviously we go round the sun every 365 days.

I don't think I need to explain that to you, I think I'm underestimating your intelligence.

(laughing) But now you know what it means.

Number 12 is possibly my favourite.

In fact, it is my favourite.

It is happy womb eviction day.  So obviously, the womb is where you lived before you were born, and you were evicted on your birthday.

Number 13 is a lovely compliment.

It's a nice way of telling somebody that they are older.

You have to say, you're ageing like a fine wine.

'Cause obviously fine wines get better with age.

So if you're ageing like a fine wine, you're ageing beautifully, you're getting better with age.

And let's end this section on a really cute one.

It is, don't count the candles, just enjoy the glow.  I really like that.

Don't worry about how old you are, just enjoy the celebration.

Right, let's move on to wishing people a happy anniversary.

I've split this into two sections.

The first is wishing happy anniversary to another couple.

And the second section is wishing a happy anniversary to your partner.

So much more romantic in the second section.

Number one, the first one that you'll wish to another couple is, wishing a perfect pair a perfect day together.

If two people are a perfect pair, it means they were made for each other, they are perfect together.

Number two is a lovely one.

It can be said as a toast, cheers.

You can also say it to your romantic partner.

It is here's to another year of being great together.

Of you two being great together.

Number three is another year, another reason to celebrate.

I've explained this a lot on my vlogging channel, but my family like to celebrate anything, anything.

On Valentine's day, my mother decorates the house, and makes heart shaped biscuits.

On Halloween, we had cobwebs all over the house, and she dressed up as a witch, normally. So we love reasons to celebrate, and an anniversary is definitely a reason to celebrate.

Another year, another reason to celebrate.

Number four is so, so cute.

It's, I always knew you two had something special.

So if you have some friends that have always had a wonderful relationship, you can say this to them.

I always knew you two had something special.

Had a special chemistry or a special spark together.

And number five, the last one that you can say to another couple is, love and cheer to one of our favourite couples.

If that's coming from just you, to one of my favourite couples.

It's a big honour to be told that you're one of someone's favourite couples.

And finally, we have five more romantic ways to wish your partner a happy anniversary.

The first one is lovely.

It is I love you more and more every year.

My love just grows for you.

I love you more and more every year.

Number two is a very common one, but it's actually one that I find really annoying.

(chuckling) And I'll explain why.

It is thanks for putting up with me for another year.

Now, why does this annoy me?

Well, to put up with someone is to tolerate, or endure someone.

So this is jokingly saying, thank you for tolerating me, or thank you for enduring me for another year.

I just don't think it's very nice, I don't think we should just tolerate each other, we should adore each other! (laughing) I'm just joking.

I know it's a joke.

I just, yes, it's not something I'll be putting in my anniversary card to Will.

Number three is here's to five years and 5 million memories.

So you can replace the number as you wish.

Here's to 10 years, but 10 million memories.

That's really, really nice.

'Cause it's not about how long you've been together, it's about the things you've done together, and the memories you've made.

Number four, a really common phrase in anniversary cards, and messages to each other is, I can't believe it's been four years already.

I can't believe it's been 20 years already.

Time flies when you're having fun.

Unless you're just putting up with someone.

Sorry, I need to let that go. (laughing) Okay.

The last one, number five, is quite an interesting one.

It is happy ruby anniversary, happy gold anniversary, happy paper anniversary.

What am I talking about?

Well, for each year you're together, there is an anniversary name.

And some people give gifts corresponding to this name.

So your first anniversary is your paper anniversary.

So someone might write a love letter.

Second is cotton, third is leather.

And it goes all the way up to number 10, which is tin.

Then you have 20, which is platinum, silver, which is 25th, ruby, which is the 40th, gold, which is 50th, and diamond, which is 60th.

My grandparents made it to their 60th diamond anniversary.

And if you make it to 60 years of marriage in the UK, then you can apply for the queen to write you a letter or card of congratulations.

And they did receive that card.

She will also write you a letter if you reach 100 years of age.

So that's a really nice thing to look forward to. (chuckling) Right, that's it for today's lesson.

I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you learnt something.

Don't forget to complete the quiz.

I've got everything we've spoken about today on the PDF worksheet, as well as a quiz.

If you'd like to download it for free, you can click on the link in the description box, enter your name and your email address.

You sign up to my mailing list, and I send it directly to your inbox.

If you're looking to acquire some further vocabulary, and improve your listening skills, then I also have a vlogging channel, where I vlog my daily life on a farm in the UK.

And importantly, every video is fully subtitled.

So you can use it to learn new vocabulary in context, and also practise your listening.

Don't forget to connect with me on all of my social media.

I've got my Facebook, my Instagram, and my website, englishwithlucy.co.uk.

There, I have got an amazing interactive pronunciation tool.

So you can click on sounds and hear me pronounce them.

I will see you soon for another lesson.
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