Every day is someone’s birthday. Today happens to be Grammarly’s 10th, in fact!
We’re celebrating with a few tips to make your birthday greetings stand out. Whether you’re dashing off a quick note on social media or putting an old-school physical card in the mail, these pointers will help you craft clever birthday wishes.
First, a few basics:
1 Happy birthday!
Exclamations are easy to overuse but perfectly appropriate in this case. An exclamation might even do enough lifting that you don’t need the word “happy,” like so:
This could read as the sender endearingly overflowing with exuberance—or it might just look like an amusing typo. Alternatively, using the recipient’s name is sometimes enough to obviate the need for an exclamation, as in this heartfelt, seemingly above-the-fray option:
3 Happy birthday, Person’s Name.
Of course, be sure to get the name right; in your haste to avoid a belated happy birthday, you don’t want to step on your friend Dianna’s cheer by calling her Diane.
Can it all be so simple?
Sometimes, that’s all you need! But why pass up the chance to get creative?
There are endless variations on the theme of “happy birthday” that you can tailor to your unique brand of friendship. While synonyms for “birthday” are scarce, you can always dream up a new way of saying “I hope it’s a good one.” Some examples:
4 Fond birthday wishes for my friend, James – 5 Warm wishes and cold beverages for my birthday guy, Chad! 6 Hugs and sunbeams on your birthday, Alex.
You can also tinker with how you address your friend here. It’s okay to be earnest:
7 Happy birthday, you glorious champion! 8 Happy birthday to my role model.
But also, depending on your friendship, you might gently tease them a bit. For instance:
9 Happy birthday, you loveable curmudgeon.
That said, avoid going too far:
10 Happy birthday, you lurid pandemic.
You can also veer the opposite direction and lay on some schmaltz:
11 Happy birthday to the first daffodil of spring 🌼
You get the idea. It’s a celebration, so have fun with it!
Okay, so then what?
From this point, the conventional formula—which you’re hardly obliged to follow—tends to compliment the recipient about how great they are, then tell them what swell things you hope are in store, like this:
12 Happy birthday, Ruth. The blinding radiance of your friendship puts the sun to shame. I hope your day is replete with interesting smells, chasable squirrels, and delectable things to chew on.
Ruth, of course, is a dog. Note here that both the compliment and the fond wish are opportunities to flex your creativity, as well as your familiarity with the recipient. If they’ve passed a recent milestone, now’s a fine time to congratulate them, and then end with a look forward:
13 The happiest of birthday wishes to my friend, Joshua. From running your first half marathon to snagging a sweet new apartment, you killed it this year. Here’s hoping you somehow crush next year even harder.
This list is far from an exhaustive inventory of all the clever birthday wishes out there, but we hope it’s a starting point in deciding how to congratulate a friend on another successful trip around the sun. Here’s one more example:
14 Happy 10th birthday, Grammarly. Over the years you’ve put a lot of commas where they belong and saved more than a few drafts from repetitive phrasing. Your capacity to help people communicate clearly only grows better with time.