Secrets to Giving the Perfect Compliment in English

Photo Of Women Shaking Hands - ALCC American LanguageIn order to master the English language, you must first master the art of giving compliments. Many friendships, conversations, and relationships can start and develop through a well-placed compliment. When giving a compliment in English, the meaning you convey is often just as important as the words you choose to use. Here’s how to perfect your compliments.

Be Genuine

You can compliment someone on their personality, their looks, their belongings, work they have completed, or some skill they might have. Here are some basic compliments to give you an idea of where to start:

“I loved the article you wrote for the newspaper yesterday.”

“Your new dress is stunning. Where is it from?”

“You have a beautiful voice. I never knew you sing.”

Remember, while it’s possible to compliment somebody on just about anything, that doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Whatever you do decide to notice, make sure that you truly admire or find value in it. When giving a compliment in English, if you speak from the heart your compliments will leave a stronger, sweeter impression.

Be Observant

The purpose of a compliment is often to make someone feel noticed or appreciated. Be observant of the people around you. What have they done that deserves appreciation? Here are some examples:

“Your new haircut looks great!”

“You look amazing lately. What’s your secret?”

By being more aware of the people around you, you can deliver compliments that are meaningful and relevant to the people you meet. Each person is different, so each compliment should be different too!

Context Matters

Ultimately, although compliments can soothe your entry into social situations, sometimes a poorly-placed compliment can be awkward at best and disastrous at worst.

Before giving a compliment in English to an authority figure, consider your relationship with them. You probably wouldn’t want to comment on their good looks.

However, for a teacher, you could say:

“I really appreciated your lesson today. It helped me understand something in a new way.”

For a doctor, you could try:

“Your treatment really worked wonders. I will come back again the next time I have a problem.”

With these new tools in your kit, you can feel more and more confident giving a compliment in English that is genuine and meaningful.

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