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How to Compliment Someone – Video

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In this lesson, you’ll learn how to compliment someone in English.

If you like someone’s clothes, or you’re invited to someone’s home and want to tell them how nice it is, would you know what to say?

Compliments—when you say something nice to someone—are important if you want to seem friendly. However, the tone of compliments is important. You can sound strange if you get it wrong.

In this class, you’ll see how to compliment people in a natural way in English!

QUIZ: How to Compliment Someone

Test your understanding of the vocabulary and ideas you saw in this lesson! The quiz has 20 questions, and you’ll see your score at the end.

1. Complimenting Someone’s Appearance

How to Compliment Someone - photo of girl in dress

Olivier: Is that a new top? It looks really nice!

Gina: Thanks!

O: Where did you get it? That colour suits you.

G: Actually, I got it from a market. I have no idea where it came from originally. […]

G: Did you get your hair cut?

O: Yeah!

G: I like it. Shorter hair looks good on you!

O: Thanks! A common way to compliment someone’s appearance is to notice something new about them. For example:

  • Is that a new top?
  • Did you get your hair cut?

You heard these in the dialogue, but you could also say:

  • Are those shoes new?
  • You look nice. Have you lost weight?

Of course, you should be careful when you comment on someone’s weight or body shape. It’s safer to avoid such comments with people you don’t know well. You can also say that someone looks good with phrases like these:

  • It looks really nice.
  • That colour suits you.
  • Shorter hair looks good on you.

You can use these phrases in different ways. For example:

  • Your shoes look really nice.
  • That jacket suits you.
  • Green looks good on you.

You can use a colour like this to refer to clothing. So, you can say ‘red looks good on you,’ meaning that red clothes look good when you wear them. Of course, appearance isn’t everything! Maybe you want to compliment others on their personalities, too. Let’s see how you can do this.

2. Complimenting Someone’s Personality

How to Compliment Someone - woman grinning

Gina: Wow! Look at this. You’re so organised. How do you keep everything so tidy?

Olivier: I don’t know. I’ve always been tidy, I think.

G: I wish I was like that. My office is always in a mess. […]

O: I like how patient you are. It’s important for someone in your position.

G: Well, thanks for saying so.

O: I don’t know how you do it sometimes.

G: The way I see it is: you don’t gain anything by getting angry or stressed. […]

G: I appreciate that you were so honest about this. Not everybody would have handled things the same way.

O: It just seemed like the right thing to do.

G: Sure, but I still think it was brave of you to speak out.

You can compliment someone’s personality in a very simple way. You heard: ‘You’re so organised.’ You can use this with other adjectives; for example:

  • You’re so generous!
  • You’re so hard-working.

You can also use other phrases, such as:

  • I like how patient you are.
  • I appreciate that you were so honest about this.
  • It was brave of you to speak out.

Again, you can use these in different ways, like this:

  • I like how cheerful you are.
  • I appreciate that you always listen carefully to everyone’s ideas.
  • It was nice of you to bring a gift.

OK, at this point, you’ve learned some language to compliment someone’s appearance and personality. We have an exercise for you! Think of someone you know well. This person could be your friend, family member, or colleague. Imagine you want to compliment this person on his or her appearance and personality. Can you make two sentences? Pause the video, and say your sentences out loud.

Could you remember what to say? Remember, you can always go back and check if you’ve forgotten something. Next, let’s imagine that someone has invited you to their home for the first time. It’s good manners to compliment your host on their home; lets see how you can do that.

3. Complimenting Someone’s Home

How to Compliment Someone - man and woman at home

Gina: Wow! I love your living room. It’s so cosy!

Olivier: Thanks! It didn’t look like this when we moved in, but we’ve done a lot of work on it.

G: I especially like that lamp. Did it come with the place?

O: No, it was a wedding present. I don’t know where it came from.

G: It’s really colourful. […]

O: You have a very nice place.

G: Thank you!

O: I like how spacious it is. I live in the centre, and my apartment is a shoebox.

G: Yeah, I guess that’s the plus of living in the suburbs. It’s much further away, though.

O: True.

If you want to compliment someone on their home, you could make a general comment, like:

  • You have a very nice place.
  • I like how spacious it is.

You heard these in the dialogue, but you could also say:

  • You have a very beautiful home.
  • I like how bright your apartment is.

You could also compliment specific things about someone’s home, such as furniture, household items, or rooms. In the dialogue, you heard:

  • I love your living room. It’s so cosy!
  • I especially like that lamp.

Here’s a question for you: what other adjectives could you use to compliment someone’s home? There are many possible answers, but you could use words like ‘warm’, ‘modern’, ‘beautiful’, ‘airy’ or ‘stylish’. So, you might say:

  • I love your terrace! It’s beautiful.
  • I especially like your sofa. It’s so stylish.

If you’re at someone’s home, there’s a good chance they’ll serve you food. For our next topic, let’s see how you can compliment someone’s cooking!

4. Complimenting Someone’s Cooking

How to Compliment Someone - make dinner

Olivier: This soup is amazing! What’s in it?

Gina: It’s a Caribbean recipe, with vegetables, beef stock, coconut and thyme.

O: It’s so tasty! Quite spicy, though.

G: Mmm, well… It does have a couple of habanero peppers in, too. Maybe I should have warned you… […]

O: Mmm! The pizza is delicious! Did you make it from scratch?

G: I did! Glad you like it.

O: You even make the dough yourself?

G: Yep. It’s not so difficult, actually, and I think the end result is better. Do you want more?

O: Yes, please!

To compliment someone’s cooking, you can use words like ‘tasty’ or delicious’. You can also use more general adjectives to talk about food, like ‘amazing’, ‘great’ or ‘fantastic’. For example, you could say:

  • This soup is amazing.
  • The pasta is really tasty.
  • I love the pie. It’s fantastic!
  • The potatoes are delicious.

As you heard before, part of complimenting something is showing an interest. So, you can ask questions like:

  • What’s in it?
  • Did you make it from scratch?
  • You even make the dough yourself?

If you make something from scratch, you don’t use any pre-made ingredients. For example, if you make a pizza from scratch, then you make everything yourself: you mix flour and water to make the dough, you make the tomato sauce yourself, and so on.

Now, you should know several ways to compliment someone in English. For homework, go out and say something nice to someone!

Thanks for watching this spoken English lesson from Oxford Online English!

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