English Usage Topics > Complimenting and Congratulating Someone

Complimenting and Congratulating Someone

Clothes and appearance

If you know someone quite well, or are talking to someone in an informal situation, you can compliment them on their clothes or appearance using an expression such as 'That's a nice coat', 'What a lovely dress', or 'I like your jacket'.
That's a beautiful dress.
What a pretty dress.
I like your haircut.
I love your shoes. Are they new?
You can also say something like 'You look nice' or 'You're looking very smart today'. If you want to be more emphatic, you can use adjectives such as great or terrific.
You're looking very glamorous.
You look terrific.
You can also compliment someone on their appearance by saying that what they are wearing suits them.
I love you in that dress, it really suits you.

Meals

You can compliment someone on a meal by saying something like 'This is delicious' during the meal or 'That was delicious' after the meal.
This is delicious, Ginny.
He took a bite of meat, chewed it, savoured it, and said, 'Fantastic!'
Mm, that was lovely.

Skills

You can compliment someone on doing something skilfully or well using an exclamation.
What a marvellous memory you've got!
Oh, that's true. Yes, what a good answer!
'Look – there's a boat.' – 'Oh yes – well spotted!'
A teacher might praise a pupil who has given a correct answer by saying 'Good'.
'What sort of soil do they prefer?' – 'Acid soil.' – 'Good.'

Achievements

You can say 'Congratulations' to someone to congratulate them on achieving something.
Well, congratulations, Fernando. You've done it.
Congratulations to all three winners.
You can also say 'Congratulations' to someone when something nice has happened to them.
'Congratulations,' the doctor said. 'You have a son.'
There are several more formal ways of congratulating someone.
I must congratulate you on your new job.
Let me offer you my congratulations on your success.
Let me be the first to congratulate you on a wise decision, Mr Dorf.
May I congratulate you again on your excellent performance.
You can congratulate someone informally by saying 'Well done'.
'You did very well today. Well done'.

Accepting compliments and congratulations

You can accept compliments with several different expressions.
Oh, thanks!
It's very nice of you to say so.
I'm glad you think so.
You can also respond by saying how old it is, or how or where you got it.
'That's a nice top.' – 'Haven't you seen this before? I've had it for years.'
'That's a nice piece of jewellery.' – 'Yeah, my husband bought it for me.'
If someone compliments you on your skill, you can say something modest that implies that what you did was not very difficult or skilful.
Oh, there's nothing to it.
'Terrific job.' – 'Well, I don't know about that'.
When someone congratulates you, you usually say 'Thanks' or 'Thank you'.
'Congratulations on publication.' – 'Thanks very much.'
'Congratulations to both of you.' – 'Thank you.'
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