A “gesture of goodwill” is something that we can give people to make them feel better. However, you might not know much more about it than that and whether it’s polite to use. This article will look at the meaning and politeness of the phrase to help you understand it.
What Does “Gesture Of Goodwill” Mean?
“Gesture of goodwill” means that somebody has done something friendly or helpful. They’ll often do it when they want to get in your good books and let you know that they’re friends with you. “Goodwill” is already a gesture, so adding “gesture of” emphasizes this fact.
The definition of “goodwill,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “friendly and helpful feelings.”
When we talk about it as a “gesture,” it means we’re doing something to offer someone friendly and helpful feelings. We usually do it to make people happy or give them a gift that we know they really need.
Is It “Gesture Of Good Will” Or “Gesture Of Goodwill”?
When we write it, it will help to know whether we write “goodwill” as one or two words.
The correct phrase is “gesture of goodwill” because “goodwill” is already a word. We don’t need to separate it into two words, though sometimes you might see people write it in that way.
There are no specific rules that say “goodwill” is correct instead of “good will.” Most native speakers use them interchangeably, though it’s much more likely that “goodwill” will be used.
To show this, you can look at the results from this graph. The two sayings both came into popularity in the 1920s, and initially, “good will” was the more popular choice. However, after the 1940s, “goodwill” was (and still is) the most popular of the two.
We strive to simplify our language however we can, and using “goodwill” in place of “good will” shows this. While both words are synonymous, it helps to see that “goodwill” is only one word, making it much more streamlined when we write it on a page.
Examples Of How To Use “Gesture Of Goodwill” In A Sentence
To help you understand how we might use “gesture of goodwill,” you can refer to the following examples.
- As a gesture of goodwill, I’d like to waive the fee so that you won’t have to pay it this month.
- I’m not going to ask you for rent this month as a gesture of goodwill.
- As a gesture of goodwill, I’ll be taking a step back from this rivalry to allow you to flourish without my input.
- As a goodwill gesture, I’ll be donating plenty to the foundation to help you get back on your feet.
- As a goodwill gesture, I’ll be reimbursing you for your travel expenses.
- As a gesture of goodwill, the church will be hosting an all-night event to make up for their mistakes.
- I’ll be holding a staff party this afternoon as a gesture of goodwill and an apology.
“Gesture of goodwill” works when we want to try and get into people’s good books. Usually, we’ll do it after doing something wrong to show people that we still care about them and want to make them feel better.
It’s also likely that we’ll give a “gesture of goodwill” when we break the typical rules of something and allow people a pass. A good example is one rent, where the rules say you have to pay rent monthly. Not asking for rent for a month is a gesture of goodwill from a landlord.
Is It Polite To Say “As A Gesture Of Goodwill”?
There is nothing inherently impolite about saying “as a gesture of goodwill.” However, like most phrases, it depends on the context.
“As a gesture of goodwill” is polite when you mean that you’re doing something to help someone out or take away some stress. If you use it sarcastically or to show that you have more power than the other person, then it’s not polite.
The context of the phrase is what’s most important here. We might use it to be kind and friendly to somebody, and in these cases, it’s as polite as it can be. However, there are times where you might use it sarcastically.
- As a gesture of goodwill, I’ll be taking away your privileges at the end of this week.
Here, we’re using “gesture of goodwill” to take something away from people, which is usually a bad thing. In this case, we’re being sarcastic, showing the people that we have the power and can decide what we do to them.
Using “goodwill” in this way is fake, and many people will hate you for it.
Can I Use “As A Gesture Of Goodwill” In An Email?
You can write “as a gesture of goodwill” in an email, though it’s most likely that a boss will write it to one of their employees. It’s something that someone says when they’re above someone else.
If you’re an employee, it’s best to avoid writing “as a gesture of goodwill” to your boss. You should only write it when you’re emailing somebody who is below you in your work’s hierarchy.
When we use it in this way, we’re often showing the people below us that we can still be kind to them, even if we’re in a position above them.
What Can I Say Instead Of “As A Gesture Of Goodwill”?
If you’re struggling with “as a gesture of goodwill” as a phrase, you might want to try a synonym instead. These are great choices to replace it:
- Act of kindness
- Gesture of good faith
- Goodwill gesture
- Act of charity
- Favor to you
- Friendly gesture
- Good deed
Does “Gesture Of Goodwill” And “Gesture Of Good Faith” Mean The Same?
“Gesture of goodwill” and “gesture of good faith” mean the same thing, and many people use them interchangeably. “Good faith” is less popular because it’s reserved for the holiest of things that we do for people (which isn’t a common occurrence).
You can refer to this graph to see the difference in usage between the two. “Gesture of goodwill” is by far the most popular choice, while “good faith” isn’t nearly as popular.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.