What’s the difference between happy and lucky?
Some learners of English get confused between happy and lucky. These adjectives have two different meanings in English; happy describes a joyful or content mood, while lucky can refer to a fortunate coincidence, a person that has success by chance, or an object that brings good fortune. Read on for a detailed explanation of the differences between lucky and happy, then try your own luck in the free exercises.
William: Why do you look so happy?
Alphie: I’m going to ask Paige to the school dance.
William: She’s very popular, you’ll be lucky if she even says hello to you.
Alphie: That’s why I’m wearing my lucky hat!
William: Go on then, good luck!
… 5 minutes later …
Alphie: She said yes!
William: I’m so happy for you!
- happy = feel joy or contentment
- Why do you look so happy?
- I’m happy for you.
- There are lots of different ways to say happy (e.g. content, pleased, joyful, cheerful, glad, etc.)
- Why do you look so pleased?
- lucky = fortunate/something good happens by chance not through one’s own actions
- You’ll be lucky if she says hello.
- lucky + noun = something that brings good fortune
- I’m wearing my lucky hat!
- good/bad luck = good/bad fortune
- Go on then, good luck.
Compare: happy vs. lucky
Compare both adjectives side-by-side in the following example:
- We got lucky at the casino and won $10,000 in a poker game! I’m so happy that we can afford to buy a new car.
- Being lucky in the casino = good fortune that happened by chance
- Feeling happy about the money = joyful mood because of the good fortune