God bless you



Can you tell me the difference between "God bless you" and "God blesses you"? Which one is more commonly used nowadays?

Posted 24 February 2003


"God bless you" is the normal expression to use. Actually, it is part of the expression:

May God bless you.

This type of sentence — with "may" acting as a kind of imperative verb,but often understood and unstated — occurs sometimes in sentences that ask God for help. "God bless you" and "may God bless you" are set expressions.

Perhaps in recent times you've heard the song "God Bless America." In that song, people are really saying "May 'God Bless America.' We are hoping for that." When you say "God bless you," you saying that you hope God blesses the other person.

"God blesses you" is not a set expression. It might, however, be used in a sentence like this: "God blesses you every time that you see a baby smile, that you smell the flowers in your garden, that you recover from an illness." Of course, this kind of sentence occurs much less frequently, only when you are describing — not asking for — blessings from God.

I would imagine that in today's world, people are using the first construction even more than usual.

Sentence like these are heard, particularly in religious or perhaps speech-making contexts:

(May) God save us!
(May) God grant us strength.
(May) peace be with you.

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