A compliment has great power. It can make someone’s day. Moreover, compliments may magnify people’s strengths and empower them with confidence and positivity.

In our everyday life, it is a common communication practice to pay people with compliments. They can greatly strengthen relationships so we all need to learn how to give a proper one. So let’s join eJOY team on the ride to discover 9 easy and practical ways of complimenting in English.

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9 English structures for giving compliments

1 Noun Phrase + is/look + (really) + Adjective

This structure is commonly used to compliment somebody’s appearance, possession or skills.

For example:

  • When you met your co-worker at the office and she is wearing a stylish new dress, you can say to her: “Your dress is beautiful.” or “You look wonderful in that new dress.”
  • Or your friend has just bought a brand new Mercedes. You may tell him: “Wow! Your car looks amazing!”
  • In order to add more extremity to the compliment, you can add “very” or use strong adjectives such as “spectacular”, “amazing”, “wonderful”, “phenomenal”, etc.

2I + (really) + like/love + Noun Phrase

The second structure tends to showcase your feeling and emotion more than the first one. The use of emotional verbs such as “like” and “love” tells others how fond you are of their appearance, belonging, skills or performance.

For example:

  • I really like your dress.
  • I love your new apartment.
  • I like the way you play the guitar.
  • I love how you can paint such a nice painting.

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3Pronoun + is + (a/an) + (really) + Adjective + Noun Phrase

If you are looking for a way to compliment someone’s appearance or something he/she owns, this is one option for you. Remember to choose the proper pronoun to suit the quantity of object.

For example:

  • That’s a really nice rug.
  • That’s a great-looking car.
  • Those are delicious dishes.
  • These shoes are super comfortable. Where do you get them?

4 You + Verb + (a/an) + (really) + Adjective + Noun Phrase!

In order to praise a person’s performance or skills, this is the perfect structure. This is usually used by employers, bosses in offices or teachers at school.

For example:

  • You did a good job!
  • You cooked a really tasty meal!
  • You made an impressive speech up there! Congratulation!

5 You + Verb + Noun Phrase + (really) + Adverb

This structure can be used in place of structure number 4 above. However, we should pay attention to use adverbs correctly.  Some commonly used adverbs in this structure are “well”, “nicely”, “perfectly”, etc.

For example:

  • You sang that song really well!
  • You did the interview very well!
  • You cooked the beef perfectly!

6 You have + (a/an) + (really) + Adjective + Noun Phrase

When you want to say nice words about something that belongs to a person or about their appearance, keep in mind that you can always use this structure.

For example:

  • You have a beautiful living room.
  • She has lovely eyes.
  • They have an amazing kitchen packed with modern cooking supplies and ingredients.

7 What + (a/an) + Adjective + Noun Phrase!

This familiar expression is very useful in case of complimenting. With the use of some positive adjectives, we can easily create compliments that can apply in all situations.  

For example:

  • What a beautiful picture!
  • What a lovely baby you have!
  • What an elegant dress!
  • What a great job you have done with this project!

8 Adjective + Noun Phrase!

What if you want to give short and to-the-point compliments? Note down the sentences below:

  • Nice game!
  • Good shot!
  • Great show!
  • Wonderful trip!

9 Isn’t + Noun Phrase + Adjective!

By using the negative question form, we actually emphasize the positive aspect of something or someone.  

For example:

  • Isn’t she lovely!
  • Isn’t your ring beautiful!
  • Isn’t tonight memorable!

How to reply to compliments

So far we have come through 9 easy ways to give compliments. What should we say to reply to such kind words? The sentences below are what you should say when receiving compliments.

  • How kind of you to say so.
  • It’s very nice/kind of you to say so.
  • Thank you so much.
  • Thanks for your compliments.
  • I’m glad you like it
  • I’m delighted to hear that.

Some tips for compliments

You want to give compliments not flattery. Remember these 3S to make sure your compliments go to the recipient’s heart.

Sincere: Be sincere when complimenting. People are very sensitive when it comes to compliments so they can easily find out if you say something just to win their heart but do not actually mean it.  

Specific: Try to avoid general and unclear compliments. Those will make you sound like you are forced to give compliments.

Spontaneous: Give compliments as soon as you identify/notice something wonderful. If you wear a new shirt to work, you would like to be complimented as soon as you walk through the door, right?

Hope that after reading this article you feel confident to give compliments to people around you in English. To learn more useful expressions and structures in English, don’t forget to download eJOY eXtension.

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