Don’t say buena suerte (good luck in English), say these 5 alternatives instead!

DON’T Say BUENA SUERTE, say THESE 5 Alternatives Instead!

Bueno, es un examen horrible, pero estoy lista. Te cuento al volver.
(Well, it’s a horrible test, but I’m ready. I’ll tell you when I get back.)

¡Buena suerte!
(Good luck!)

Gracias, pero con todo lo que he estudiado, no es cuestión de suerte.
(Thanks, but with everything I’ve studied, it’s not a matter of luck.)

Mucho éxito, entonces.
(Much success, then.)

First of all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “buena suerte” (good luck). That being said, not only you might run into that type of situation or you yourself might have very strong feelings about chance but, wouldn’t it be nice to know how to manipulate this expression or say something else that holds the same sentiment as buena suerte in English?

Buena suerte in Spanish means “good luck.” It’s a common chunk used to wish someone well in upcoming endeavors or situations that might require fortune or favorable circumstances.

Yo soy Maura, de Spring Spanish (I’m Maura, from Spring Spanish) and let’s now look at 5 alternatives for the good old buena suerte (good luck).

1. The classic ¡buena suerte alternative: Mucho éxito (Much success)

Gracias, pero con todo lo que he estudiado, no es cuestión de suerte.
(Thanks, but with everything I’ve studied, it’s not a matter of luck.)

Vale, vale, éxito, entonces.
(Ok, ok, success, then.)

The word “éxito” (success) can be used by itself to wish it to someone. So could the word “suerte” (luck) by the way. As in the first role-play it is also commonly paired with the word “mucho” (much) to create the chunk “mucho éxito” (much success). To me personally, these expressions are a matter of intention more than literalism, but this is the preferred choice of people that do feel more intensely about it.

The thing you’re wishing success on doesn’t have to be as serious as a difficult exam, though, it can actually be anything:

Voy a ver si consigo el vestido para la fiesta. ¡Nos vemos ahora!
(I’ll see if I can get the dress for the party. See you later!)

Seguro. ¡Éxito!
(Sure. Success!)

By the way, stay till the end if you want to know the very particular, maybe even disgusting way in which you can wish good luck to performing artists in Spanish!

2. A generic example: Que te vaya bien (Fare well)

Bueno, te dejo que tengo un día loquísimo por delante. Me toca ir a la embajada a buscar el pasaporte, al dentista en la tarde y luego a ver si me da tiempo de comprar un regalo de cumpleaños para este mismo fin de semana. ¡Y ya mira la hora que es!
(Well, I’ll leave you, I have a crazy day ahead of me. I have to go to the embassy to get my passport, to the dentist in the afternoon, and then to see if I have time to buy a birthday present for this very weekend. And look what time it is!)

Uff, pues sí, la verdad es mucho para un día. Yo también tengo que ponerme con varias cosas del trabajo porque se me han estado acumulando. ¡Que te vaya bien!
(Pff, well yes, it’s a lot for one day. I also have to get on with some work stuff because it’s been piling up. Fare well!)

¡Gracias! Igual a ti. Que te vaya súper bien en el trabajo.
(Thank you! Same to you. Fare super well at work.)

As with the first alternatives you could also add a little something, this time before “bien”, (well) to intensify it. “Que te vaya bien” is more than enough but feel free to say: “que te vaya súper bien” o “que te vaya muy bien” (fare very well) if you want to emphasize the “bien” (well). Remember Spanish tends to be an emphatic language, so it’s quite common for this to happen.

Also, this expression is quite generic and open so you can use en, among others, right after and wish someone well on almost anything, like:

  • Que te vaya bien en tu cita. (Fare well on your date.)
  • Que te vaya súper bien en el doctor. (Fare super well at the doctor’s.)
  • Que te vaya muy bien en Italia. (Fare very well in Italy.)
buena suerte in english explained by female teacher

3. A confident good luck alternative: Te deseo lo mejor (I wish you all the best)

Me encanto verte. Ojalá no tuviera que irme mañana, pero al menos nos dio tiempo de ponernos al día.
(I loved seeing you. I wish I didn’t have to leave tomorrow, but at least we had time to catch up.)

Sí, espero que podamos vernos pronto, pero mientras, te deseo lo mejor. ¡Gracias por todo!
(Yes, I hope we can see each other soon, but in the meantime, I wish you all the best. Thanks for everything!)

Te deseo lo mejor (I wish you all the best) might not be the most common thing to say, at least for me, but it’s not like it’ll sound off or confusing. You can totally use this alternative in person like you saw in the role-play. Meaning, it does have a feeling of “goodbye” and it makes more sense if you say it to someone that is not super present in your life.


Use “me encanto verte” (I loved seeing you) when you’re saying goodbye to someone you’re either not all that close to but would like to be, or to friends and family if you don’t get to see them very often. You can even use this to flirt a little bit depending on your tone. So it is quite versatile.

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Muchas gracias por la información. Mis mejores deseos, Alejandra.
(Thank you very much for the information. Best wishes, Alejandra.)

This is a far more common way to use this. “Mis mejores deseos” (My best wishes) would be the written version of “te deseo lo mejor (I wish you all the best) and using it at the end of messages, emails or letters is quite customary.

Another common way to say “te deseo lo mejor” (I wish you all the best) would be to use the indirect “le deseo lo mejor”  (I wish him or her all the best) such as:

¿O sea que la cita del fin pasado no funcionó?
(So last weekend’s date didn’t work out?)

No. La verdad fue un poco un desastre y no creo que lo vuelva a ver para nada, pero realmente le deseo lo mejor, es una buena persona.
(No. The truth is that it was a little bit of a disaster and I don’t think I will see him again at all, but I really wish him the best, he is a good person.)

Ya. Espero que te vaya súper bien en la de hoy entonces.
(Ok. Hope you fare super well on today’s then.)

4. Browse the word of cursing: Mucha mierda (Break a leg! Lit.: much crap!)

¿Lista para tu gran actuación?
(Ready for your big performance?)

Tan lista como podría estarlo.
(As much as I could be.)

¡Mucha mierda! Vas a hacerlo perfecto, lo sé.
(Break a leg! Lit.: much crap! You’ll do perfectly, I know.)

So… “Mierda” is a curse word. It does mean crap and it is the customary thing to say to artists, especially actors, to wish them well on a performance.

I believe it goes back to times in which horses were our main transportation and a lot of horse crap outside the theater meant a lot of people came, therefore it was a big success. Curioso, ¿verdad? (Funny, right?) Not everybody knows this one so it’ll certainly impress any Spanish-speaking actor like me if you wish it to them.

5. Recap for buena suerte alternatives

Now, let’s quickly help that brain of yours with a little recap:

What’s your best option to wish “buena suerte” (good luck) if you’re talking to a very rational, literal person?

  • Éxito (Success)
  • Mucho éxito (Much success)

What about the most versatile one you can use for almost anything?

  • Que te vaya bien (Fare well)
  • Que te vaya súper bien (Fare super well)
  • Que te vaya muy bien (Fare very well)

What would you use if you’re saying goodbye to someone you probably won’t see often?

  • Te deseo lo mejor (I wish you all the best)

What if you’re writing an email?

  • Mis mejores deseos (My best wishes)

And lastly, what do we say to actors?

  • Mucha mierda (Break a leg Lit.: Much crap)

Now, we do have other expressions to talk about wishes, most specifically, things you wish would happen. Ojalá (I hope) is one of the best ones and a word any Spanish speaker needs to know how to use correctly. So you should definitely continue this lesson with me and learn all about how to use ojalá right here.  

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