I wish you joy vs. I wish TO you joy

Whitney Houston sings, “I wish to you joy and happiness. But above all this, I wish you love”
I’d like to know the difference between “I wish you joy“ and “I wish to you joy”

I don’t think there is a difference.

1 Like

No difference I think

1 Like

Oh, really? Thanks😊

Thanks, chytran!

The meaning is the same, and both are technically grammatically correct. But the second version is usually phrased as “I wish joy to you”.

When the word “to” is not used, the indirect object (you) comes before the direct object (joy). That is your first example. “I wish you joy.” I think that this is the way that most people would state this.

But when the proposition “to” is used to indicate the indirect object, then the direct object normally comes first. “I wish joy to you.” I think that the word order in your example is used when really emphasizing the direct object (joy), so it’s not used as commonly.

Edit: I just noticed that your example is from an actual song. Songs, like poetry, often use uncommon constructions and word order. This may be for emphasis, for rhythm, for rhyme, or for some combination of these three. Although it would be unusual for someone to say “I wish to you joy” in conversation, it sounds fine in a song.


When Whitney sings the lyrics you may want to listen carefully and “see” if there is a slight pause between the first “you” and “joy.” Then the sentence would be written as: "I wish to you (very slight pause for emphasis) joy and happiness. – the “joy and happiness” would then be one package with two gifts. Subtleties.


“I wish to you joy” is not something a native speaker would say.

Also, Whitney Houston is not singing “I wish to you joy”. She’s singing “I wish you joy” but adding a little “uh” at the end of “wish” to make the transition from “wish” to “you” easier to sing.

You can see it, and thus hear it better, if you watch her do it live: Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You LIVE 1999 Best Quality - YouTube

(For what it’s worth, Dolly Parton wrote the song back in the 60s or 70s, and she also sings “I wish you joy” in her version.)


Thanks. I remember there were some grammatically wrong lines in her other tunes.

Yes. it’s true! Thanks.

Thanks JFC. I tried to listen to the part again and again now. Mmmm, you may be right but it still sounds like ”to” to me 70%! And I also checked Dolly‘s version. Yes, she sang “I wish you joy and happiness” like you said.