Happy Belated Birthday vs. Belated Happy Birthday

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Cracker Jack, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Cracker Jack Senior Member

    If someone's birthday was yesterday and you forgot about it, how would you greet them today?

    Happy Belated Birthday, or
    Belated Happy Birthday?

    I want to know how it is done in AE, BE, in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, etc.

    Thanks a lot.
  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Hi Jack. It would be Belated Happy Birthday from me (BE).
  3. WestSideGal

    WestSideGal Senior Member

    English, US
    I would say "Belated Happy Birthday" because the wishes for a happy birthday are being given after the fact.

    A "happy belated birthday" to me would mean that the actual birthdate was delayed (impossible!), although in the U.S. this is VERY commonly used.
  4. Cracker Jack Senior Member

    Thanks a lot ewie and WSG. I've always thought of Belated Happy Birthday. In fact that's how I greet people belatedly. However, as I was looking up belated in the WR dictionary, there were related thread links in blue screaming Happy Belated Birthday. I thought those were just illiterate way of saying it. Then again in some American films, some characters actually use it.

    So with your confirmation, I know I was in the right track all along. WSG, your explanation proves a point. It would be an anachronistic event because each day comes to pass and the coming of a particular day is never deferred even in leap years.

    Thanks anyway.
  5. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    Do you know, I said "happy belated birthday" to a cousin a month or so back and had this exact thought. Strangely enough, "happy belated birthday" receives a vastly larger number of Google results (over 2,200,000) than the more logically correct "belated happy birthday" (330,000). I'm going to buck the trend and be logically correct from now on! ;)
  6. Unknoewn13 Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English - American
    In America, although WestSideGal already said Belated Happy Birthday, I actually say Happy Belated Birthday. "Belated Happy Birthday" is grammatically correct...but it just sounds wrong to me:p
  7. Erebos12345

    Erebos12345 Senior Member

    Yeah...I'd say "happy belated birthday."

  8. una madre Senior Member

    Western Canada English
    I have to say that "Happy Belated Birthday" rolls off my tongue easier these days although I know it's wrong! Am starting to be influenced by Google numbers cited on this forum. I too, am going to buck the trend and continue on with the correct form:
    "belated Happy Birthday."
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  9. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    I suppose the reason for the popularity of Happy Belated Birthday (if only in Googleland;)) is the fact that we're just not used to putting the Happy bit anywhere else but the beginning of such exclamations:
    Happy 50th Birthday:tick:
    Happy Hanukkah:tick:
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year:tick:. So the brain's just starting with the bit that usually comes first.
    Also, I can't think of many other good uses for the word belated:
    They sent me belated birthday greetings:tick:
    I arrived belated for my appointment:cross:
    The train was belated:cross:
    blah blah blah.
  10. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    As has been said, in AE it is very usual to say "Happy Belated Birthday". When I first heard it, I explained it to myself by saying that today is no longer the birthday, but I want to celebrate the birthday anyway, so I name this day "Belated Birthday" and wish the person a happy "today", Happy Belated Birthday. Not sure if that makes sense outside my tortured imaginings, however.
  11. Cracker Jack Senior Member

    OMG, it's true. I just did a Google search and I got similar results. Actually, it never occured to me until I read your response. If there is one good thing about it, it's that you guys still know what is correct. And I'm glad that you do. At least you even acknowledge that Happy Belated Birthday is wrong.

    In your case cycloneviv, you even made a resolution and that's great. Thanks anyway for all your replies.
  12. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think the Greeting Card industry has a lot to answer for.
    I expect the sign in the shop says "Belated Birthday".
    The cards probably say "Belated Birthday Greetings".

    One small step from that to "Happy Belated Birthday".

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