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What is the difference in meaning between "Ich wünsche Dir eine gute Besserung." and "Ich wünsche Dir gute Besserung."? Is the first example even correct?

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  • "Ich wünsche Dir gute Besserung" is shorter. No, this isn't an exhaustive answer, which is why I don't post it as such.
    – RHa
    Nov 26, 2022 at 10:18

2 Answers 2

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Both are correct and are used. "Ich wünsche Dir gute Besserung" is shorter.

One could probably try to interpret the slightly different grammar as different meaning, but in real world usage there is no difference in meaning between the two variants at all.

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To me the "eine gute Besserung" sounds a bit strange. The word "eine" suggests (or at least connotes) that "Besserung" is a countable thing - which it isn't. For the same reason you might wish someone "einen guten Tag" (a good day) but "Guten Appetit" (good appetite, the usual formula for starting a meal).

An English analogy would be that we wish "a good day" but "have fun" (not "have a fun").

I suppose one of the reasons why "eine gute Besserung" is used at all is because "gute Besserung" is considered to be so formulaic that the wish itself becomes "somewhat countable".

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    The analogy with have fun is misleading. have a fun is utterly wrong in English, while Ich wünsche dir einen guten Tag is not wrong in German.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Nov 28, 2022 at 8:55
  • The examples hold because (wish (to)) have fun is a participle that should be well comparable to the noun phrase a good day, regardless if it does not appear as such with I wish you..., I wish you two have fun making that difficult to work out once duals gone astray. Ich wünsch dir viel Spaß / einen schönen Tag still holds. This implies tacitly that gute on its own is arbitrarily read as obligatory determiner since we never hear: ? ich wünsche dir _ Besserung.
    – vectory
    Nov 28, 2022 at 9:11
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    @JonathanScholbach: "Tag" is something countable and this is what i said - you can use "a" (or any definite number, for that matter) if the noun is countable, otherwise not. "Have a good day." ("day" is countable) but NOT: "I wish you a luck." ("luck" is not countable)
    – bakunin
    Nov 28, 2022 at 11:01
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    Sorry, my comment was ambiguous. I meant to write "while eine gute Besserung is not wrong in German". The whole idea of countable vs uncountable is misleading here: It is a great pleasure is perfectly fine in English, although pleasure is not countable. Same with eine gute Besserung in German. The reason why *have a fun is wrong in English is not based on fun not being countable.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Nov 28, 2022 at 11:14
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    If "pleasure" is not a countable thing, then how comes "many pleasures" is a phrase? Some words can be countable and uncountable depending on context, as @userunknown showed with "Besserung" - which is countable when used in respect to several (ill) people, Similar with i.e. "Fetch me a milk." where in fact a "glass of ..." (countable item) is meant.
    – bakunin
    Nov 29, 2022 at 8:21

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