In this lesson I will explain some ways to compliment someone in English. By the end you will understand how to compliment someone naturally, without sounding too strange or creepy.
Let’s start with imagining a person in your life who you really like. Do you have that person in your head? Good.
1. Complimenting Someone’s Personality in English
We’ll start with how to compliment their personality. Are they friendly, passionate, hardworking or a good listener? What positive qualities do you like about them? Now let’s tell them.
If you friend is a good listener, you could simply say you’re a good listener. If they are a friendly person say I like that you’re really friendly. Maybe they work hard so tell them you’re very hardworking. People like hearing nice things about themselves.
If your friend is an organised person. Another great thing to say is:
- I wish I was as organised as you.
You are saying I want to be like you. I want to be more organised.
OK. So you have complimented their personality and you notice that they are wearing some nice clothes. How would you compliment this person’s outfit?
2. Complimenting Someone’s Clothes
You could say:
- You look nice
- You look amazing
- I love your outfit
You are saying that you love their general look and taste in clothes. It shows you are paying attention to them and what they are wearing.
Now, let’s say you want to get more specific about their clothes. It’s a good idea to use I like… or I love…
Are they wearing some nice shoes? Say:
- I love your shoes. Are they new?
- I like your T-shirt – where did you get it?
- What a lovely scarf!
These compliments show that you notice and like the clothes this person is wearing.
Maybe you think the colour of the clothes is great. You could say:
- That colour looks good on you.
- You look amazing in green.
- That colour really suits you.
So you have finished complimenting their clothes. Now let’s move onto to a more complicated subject: complimenting someone’s appearance.
3. Complimenting Someone’s Appearance
This can be difficult and can depend on how well you know the person. Do not comment on a person’s body or mention their weight unless you know them very well, and even then be careful.
It can also be different depending on whether you are speaking to a man or a woman.
So let’s presume that you think the person you are talking to is attractive. You could tell them you’re looking beautiful today if you’re talking to a woman, or you’re looking handsome today if you’re talking to a man.
Other adjectives we can use for women include:.
We usually would use gorgeous and stunning to say that we think someone is very attractive. We would only use for someone who is either a close friend or someone we are romantically interested in. Saying you look stunning to a relative would be inappropriate, right?
We use lovely in a more generic way. We can tell a relative, a friend or a romantic partner that they look lovely. It is not as strong as gorgeous or stunning.
And good-looking, and attractive can be used for men.
We use good-looking and attractive to tell a male that we like how they look and would usually apply these to people we are romantically attracted to and not relatives or colleagues. It would be very strange if you told your boss that you think he is attractive.
A polite way of using these adjectives without sounding too aggressive is to say:
- I hope you don’t mind me saying but I think you are very attractive.
- Can I just say that I think you are gorgeous?
- Has anyone ever told you how pretty you are?
These are politer and less aggressive than just saying something like I think you’re hot, which could sound a bit rude.
So you have now complimented their personality, their clothes and their appearance. If this person is still talking to you, you can move on to compliment other areas.
Maybe you’ve been invited into their home and you want to compliment how nice it is. How would you do that?
4. Complimenting Someone’s Home
A simple compliment you could use is to say:
- I love your home
- What a nice apartment
- You have a beautiful home
This shows a nice initial compliment on your impression of their home.
If their home is big and spacious tell them:
- It’s really spacious in here.
Or if they have a small but nice place tell them:
Do not use words such as small as this could sound like an insult.
Or you could show an interest in their furniture. Maybe you notice that you like a lamp in their home. Ask:
- Where did you get your lamp from? I love it!
Do they have a modern kitchen? Tell them:
- Your kitchen is so modern. It looks great.
So you have complimented their home. Now let’s imagine they are cooking a meal for you. How would you compliment their cooking?
5. Complimenting Someone’s Cooking
Now remember: if the food is terrible, it’s probably not a good idea to tell them.
But imagine the meal was delicious, and you want to express this. Whilst eating you could say:
- The lasagne is delicious.
- This salad is very tasty.
Or a more expressive:
If you wanted to ask them whether they made the food from the original ingredients, you could ask:
- Did you make this from scratch?
This is a compliment if they did.
- You’ve got to give me the recipe for this meal.
Is also a great compliment to give someone as you are saying that you liked the food so much you would like to make it yourself.
After the meal you should say:
- That was delicious. My compliments to the chef.
The chef in this situation doesn’t refer to a restaurant chef, but instead to the person who did the cooking.
So, now you know how to compliment a person’s personality, their appearance, their home and their cooking. You have been a fantastic, attractive, lovely audience, but that’s the end of the lesson.
Before we finish, here’s some homework: go out and compliment someone in English! Practise what you’ve learned today.