How to Compliment Someone in English

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Complimenting someone is a great way to make someone feel good. It’s a powerful way to build a network and maintain a healthy relationship with the people surrounding you. If you meet someone for the first time, complimenting them will undoubtedly help you create a rapport.

Similarly, complimenting the people you already know can help motivate them and boost their confidence.

As a general rule, to compliment someone, you should say positive things about their appearance, inner quality, any kind of possession, ability, achievement, performance, and so on. You are expected to be honest in picking up appropriate phrases and be polite in your word choice, facial expressions, and body language while complimenting someone.

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In this post, I will discuss some expressions that you can use to compliment someone in English. Moreover, I will specifically discuss what phrases/sentences you should use to compliment someone depending on formal and informal contexts.

It is a great mistake for men to give up paying compliments, for when they give up saying what is charming, they give up thinking what is charming.

Oscar Wilde

Complimenting Someone’s Outer Beauty

compliment someone

Complimenting someone’s outer beauty or appearance is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make someone feel good, motivated, and positive. When we talk about someone’s appearance, their fitness, smile, and clothing are appreciated.

You can have an excellent conversation with someone by appreciating someone’s appearance right at the beginning of the conversation. But be aware of your choice of words since praising someone’s physical beauty may appear offensive to some people.        

Example 1: Your smile is so authentic. It reflects your inner beauty.  

Example 2: You look graceful in this attire. The color suits your personality.

Example 3: You got excellent health. You look more confident.  

You have a beautiful laugh. Like the promise of tomorrow.

The Wrath & the Dawn, Renne Ahdieh

How to compliment Someone’s Inner Qualities

When you feel like complimenting someone for their inner qualities, you can talk about their honesty, sincerity, kindness, politeness, intelligence, and creativity. A person’s inner qualities determine their true self. While physical beauty shows the surface of someone, personal attributes demonstrate the true identity of someone.   

Whether you are in a formal or informal situation, you are expected to compliment someone on the qualities mentioned above.

Example 1: I appreciate your honesty. I am proud of you.

Example 2: We are delighted to have a sincere person like you as a member of our team.

Example 3: Your creativity in designing is praiseworthy. Keep up the good work.

Expressions to Compliment Any Possession

Complimenting any possession of someone can help people feel good too. You can talk about any appreciable possessions, such as houses, cars, ornaments, and properties. Even you can talk about someone’s children as the most valuable possession of their life.

Example 1: The duplex villa you bought is big and lovely.  

Example 2: I really liked your latest model car.

Example 3: You are blessed to have such a brilliant child.

Complimenting Someone’s Ability, Performance, and Achievements

compliment someone

People always like to be appreciated for what they do in their personal and professional life. If you compliment someone for their ability to do something or any achievement and performance, they feel motivated to go forward and do better in the future.

If you are the boss or a team leader of a team, your subordinates expect your compliments on their performance. Even your family members (wife, kids, siblings, etc.) also feel motivated when you appreciate their performance, ability, or even any minor achievement.

Regardless of any situation: formal or informal, the people surrounding you are worth appreciating based on their activities.

Example 1: I congratulate you for completing this task on time. I appreciate your endeavor.  

Example 2: The prawn tastes fantastic. You cooked very well, honey!

Example 3: You have done a great job. I wish you a great future as a programmer.  

Complimenting Someone as a Whole

Though we can appreciate people for their individual qualities, praising someone as a person is quite common among native speakers of English. In most cases, we compliment someone as a whole when they are familiar with and close to us for a long time.  

You can appreciate your colleague, friend, and family members as a person in the following ways.

Example 1: You are a good human being.

Example 2: None can’t help liking you as a person.

Example 3: You are the best.

You’re all the good things wrapped into one good thing.

Everything, Everything; Nicola Yoon

Compliments for Personal & Professional Relationships

To build a network and maintain a good relationship in professional life, complimenting someone is essential. If you care and appreciate the relationship with your colleagues, they will also care for you and the relationship. 

Even your relationships in your personal life also become stronger if you keep praising and bring front the positive things of the people you care about.

Example 1: You are my best buddy.

Example 2: You are the most helpful colleague I have ever met.

Example 3: Travelling with all of you is fun, my friends.

Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Tips to Follow While Complimenting Someone

Giving and receiving compliments are common in our personal and professional life. Complimenting your colleagues or teammates can help to build networks at the workplace. Through compliments, you can show people that you care about their endeavors and appreciate them.

  1. Be honest about what you say as compliments. Don’t say anything just for the sake of saying it.
  2. Be specific about your compliments. It’s good to avoid generalized compliments as it has less value.
  3. Politeness is the key to a good conversation. Regardless of the situation, express your compliment politely.
  4. Sound natural while you compliment someone. Whatever you say as a compliment should come spontaneously.
  5. Maintain a polite voice tone and appropriate body language while giving compliments.

How to Reply to Compliments

compliment someone

When someone praises us, we should acknowledge their endeavor of complimenting us by replying to them. We already have come to know the different ways of complimenting someone. In this section, we will look at some easy ways of answering someone’s compliment.

Whether you are in a formal or informal situation, to answer someone’s compliment, you are expected to be polite and pleasant. Here are some example sentences that you can use to reply to someone’s praises.

  • Thank you so much.
  • Thanks for the compliment.
  • Thanks for noticing.
  • Thank you for feeling that way.
  • I’m happy to know that.
  • I’m delighted to hear that.
  • I’m glad that you expressed it.
  • I appreciate that.
  • It made my day. Thank you.
  • So sweet of you to say so.

There are numerous ways you can answer someone’s compliment. If you want to share some other expressions to reply to compliments, comment on this post. Let us share our knowledge to help each other improve the use of English.  

A Sample Conversation on Complimenting Someone in English

Samaira: Hey, Anne! It’s so good to see you!

Anne: I know, right? After such a long time! 

Samaira: True…. Three years almost. So, what’s going on? The last time I heard, you were doing a master’s in architecture. 

Anne: Yeah, after completing my master’s, I joined a reputed builder’s company as an architect. It’s been more than a year now. 

Samaira: That’s wonderful! You were always so brilliant at math and geometry. I think you’ve chosen the perfect career for yourself. 

Anne: Oh, thank you, Sam. You have always been so supportive as a friend. But how about you? Have you landed somewhere in your career? 

Samaira: Well, I went along my creative forte. You knew I loved to sing and write lyrics. So, I took one of my Arts teachers’ advice and started a small music company. 

Anne: Wow! That’s so thoughtful of you. Pursuing a career in the creative and arts sector is risky but rewarding eventually. Anyway, would you let me listen to any of your songs?

Samaira: Sure…. Listen to this….

Anne: I’m mesmerized! You’ve done a great job in composition and tune. I’m sure your other songs are as amazing as this one.

Takeaway Words

Forte (noun) = a field or profession where one performs his or her best

Lyrics (noun) = the words or narratives of a song

Pursue (verb) = to seek something persistently to attain a goal

Mesmerized (adjective) = becoming thrilled or enchanted 

Composition (noun) = a process of creatively writing a song or poem 

Tune (noun) = a theme or melody of a song or musical piece

In Conclusion

Not always you need to appreciate people in front of them. Genuine compliments come from within, regardless of the presence of the person you feel like praising as a friend or someone very close to your heart.

I can remember one of Toni Morisson’s famous books in this regard. When I was a graduate student, I read Beloved by this American writer where she says,

She is a friend of my mind. She gather[s] me, man. The pieces I am, she gathers[s] them and give[s] them back to me in all the right order.

Beloved, Toni Morisson

Thanks for reading.

Happy learning.

Niaj A A Khan is an ESL Instructor with over 8 years of experience in teaching & developing resources at different universities and institutes. Mr. Khan is also a passionate writer working on his first book, "Learn English at Ease."

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