Daily English Challenge: “As you wish”

In the extremely popular film “The Princess Bride“, the main character (Westley) uses the same phrase in response to his secret love’s (Buttercup) requests several times.  When she orders him to do something, he responds with “As you wish.”

Many English learners assume “as you wish” means “do whatever you want.”  This is an understandable mistake, because “as you wish” sounds a lot like “do as you wish/want”, but there is a subtle difference between them.  Let’s watch it in context and see if we can figure out how it is being used.

As you can see, the farm boy (Westley) is happy to obey the requests of his love (Buttercup).  So “as you wish” simply means “if you want me to do that, I’ll (happily) do that.”  As they say in the scene, it’s his way of expressing his love for her.  It’s actually a very romantic expression!

So why don’t we hear it much nowadays?  Well, like with many expressions used in fantasy movies, it’s overly formal and outdated!  It sounds extremely formal or romantic, almost poetic.  Nowadays we’d use expressions like “of course” or “sure” or “my pleasure.”

However, I was a big fan of this movie, and this was one of the most common expressions that I remember from it, so I wanted to share it.  Here is another example of it, but I have to warn you: it’s towards the end of the movie, so if you’ve never seen it and you want to see it, don’t watch this video (it spoils part of the end!):

This is a short one today, but I hope that explains the daily challenge!  If you have any more questions contact me on twitter, my website or right here in the comments section!



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