Podcast #100 Giving Compliments

Published in the category Communicating, General Practice

A compliment is an expression of praise or admiration that you say in order to tell a person you recognize some special quality. Here are some examples of compliments:

You say to someone at work: The suggestions you made at the meeting today were outstanding.

You say to a child after a soccer game: You played a really good game.

You say to a supermarket manager: The way you have rearranged things makes it easier to shop. Nice work.

In this lesson you will be practicing complimenting people in different settings. There are a few important things to remember about giving compliments. The first is that you should not give a compliment unless you sincerely believe what you are saying. People can usually tell when they are being given an insincere compliment, and they don’t like it.

Also, giving too many compliments sounds insincere even when you are being perfectly honest about how you feel. The person you are complimenting feels an obligation to say something nice about you, in order not to be impolite.

Finally, if you give a compliment, be prepared to say something further. If you tell a woman that you like her outfit, that is, the clothes she is wearing, she may well respond with: “Oh, what exactly do you like about it?” At that point, if you have nothing to say, that will suggest your compliment was not really sincerely meant. You get the idea.

When you are invited into someone’s house or apartment, there are lots of nice things you can say.

You have a lovely home.
These chairs are designed so nicely.
This couch is so comfortable.
The way you use the space here is very clever.
Your furniture fits into the space here just perfectly.
Where did you find that beautiful lamp?
Where did you get those snazzy curtains?

Here are some things you can say about a meal someone has served you.

This fish is just delicious.
Can you give me the recipe for this chicken dish?
The sauce is out of this world.
This is the nicest meal I’ve had in ages.
You picked the perfect wine for this meal.
This is the best ravioli I’ve ever had.
Where did you learn to cook like this?
I’m going to dream about this meal.
You could open a restaurant with food this good.

Now, when it comes to complimenting people about how they look, you have to be a little careful. Something you might say to a person you’ve known for a while might be the wrong thing to say to someone you’ve just met. Also, in a work situation it’s a good idea, in general, for a male not to make any comment about how a woman looks. For other situations, I am going to have to leave it to your own judgment as to when and where and with whom you can use the kinds of compliments you will now practice here.

Here are some things that can be said to an adult woman about her looks.

Nice shoes.
That’s a very pretty blouse.
I love that ring.
That’s an unusual bracelet, very nice.
You look like a million bucks today.
Did you do something with your hair? It looks good.

Now here are some things to say to an adult male regarding his appearance.

Nice suit.
Where’d you get that beautiful tie?
That’s a great haircut.
Nice tan you’ve got there.
You’re looking fit. Are you working out?

On the job you have many opportunities to compliment people’s performance. It especially means a lot when a senior person directs a compliment toward a junior colleague.

Nice job.
Good work.
I appreciate the good work you’ve been doing.
Thanks for all your hard work.
You’re an important member of our team.
You’re a real team player.
You always give your best and I appreciate that.
I can always depend on you.

People love to hear good things said about their children. Here are some things you can say to a mother or father about their baby.

What an adorable face.
What a sweet expression.
What a beautiful baby.
She looks so alert.

Now here are some things you can say to a parent about one or more older children.

Your children are very well behaved.
It’s nice to see children getting along so well.
Your son acts very grown up for his age.
You’ve really got nice kids.
I bet you have a lot of fun with these kids.

Even when you are interacting with strangers there are opportunities to give compliments. Here are some things you might say to a salesperson who has been helpful to you in some way.

You really know how to treat a customer well.
You have been a lot of help.
You saved me a lot of time.
You really know your stock.
Your suggestions were fantastic.
I can see you care about your customers.

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The ESL Aloud podcast lessons are designed for people who want to increase their abilities in speaking English as a second language (ESL).