Usage Notes: Complimenting, Congratulating, & Criticizing Someone

In this episode from Perfect English Podcast, you will learn how to compliment, congratulate or criticize someone. We will learn different ways to do that from mild and polite ways to harsh and serious ones. Listen to the podcast first and take the quiz after that to make sure that you have understood what we will discuss in the episode. Besides that, it’s a great way to retain the information you will have learned.

Usage Notes: Complimenting, Congratulating, & Criticizing Someone Audio Podcast

Usage Notes: Complimenting, Congratulating, & Criticizing Someone Quiz

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Which of these expressions are usual ways to compliment someone on their skills?

Please select 2 correct answers

Correct! Wrong!

Which is the strongest criticism from the following expressions?

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Which expressions are more emphatic ways to compliment someone on their clothes and appearance?

Please select 2 correct answers

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Which of the following are more formal ways to congratulate someone on their achievements?

Please select 4 correct answers

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Which expressions are usually used to accept compliments?

Please select 3 correct answers

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Which of the following expressions are usually used to compliment someone on a meal?

Please select 3 correct answers

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Which is the strongest criticism from the following expressions?

Correct! Wrong!

Which expressions can be used to imply that you are modest when someone compliments you on your skill?

Please select 2 correct answers

Correct! Wrong!

Perfect English Podcast Episode 51 - Usage Notes: Complimenting, Congratulating, & Criticizing Someone Quiz
Perfect English Podcast Episode 51 - Usage Notes: Complimenting, Congratulating, & Criticizing Someone Quiz

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Episode Transcript

0:04
Welcome to a new episode from perfect English podcast. Today we’re going to focus on usage notes to learn how to use English to accomplish specific purposes. And specifically, we’re going to focus on how to compliment, congratulate and criticize someone. What kind of language do we use to achieve these three purposes. But before we start, let me remind you that I have created a quiz for you. You can find the link to the quiz in the description of this episode. It’s always a good idea to take a quiz to check your understanding of all the information we’re going to talk about in this quiz. Or you can use it to review your information. And definitely it’s a good tool to retain the information you learn. So without further ado, let’s get to it and start talking about the positive sides. How to compliment and congratulate someone. Now we will start with how you compliment and congratulate someone For their appearance or clothes, if you know someone quite well, or if you’re talking to someone in an informal situation, you can compliment them on their clothes or appearance using an expression such as that’s a nice coat. What a lovely dress. Or I like your jacket. We can say for example, that’s a nice dress. That’s a smart jacket you’re wearing. What a pretty dress. I like your haircut. I love your shoes, are they new. So all these ways we can use in informal situations. Remember, this is not formal, in informal situations, to compliment people for the clothes they’re wearing and their appearance in general. Now, you can also say something like you look nice, or you’re looking very smart today. If you want to be more emphatic if you want to emphasize more. You can use adjectives such as great or Terrific, for example, you’re looking very glamorous, or you look terrific. So that is to emphasize more than just you look nice. And that’s not all. You can also compliment someone on their appearance by saying that what they are wearing suits them. For example, I love you in that dress, it really suits you. So these were some ways we can use to compliment people on their clothes or appearance. And now what about meals, you can compliment someone on a meal by saying something like this is delicious during the meal or That was delicious after the meal. So you can say this is delicious, or That was delicious. You can say words like fantastic, or a phrase like that was lovely. So you can use all these three expressions to compliment someone on a meal. And how about complimenting someone on a skill they have. You can compliment someone on doing something skillfully or well, using an exclamation, for example, what a marvelous memory you’ve got. Or we can say, Oh, that’s true. Yes. What a good answer. Or we can also say, look, there’s a boat. Oh, yes, well spotted. And here we have an exclamation mark at the end of each sentence, and how about achievements? You can say congratulations to someone to congratulate them on achieving something, for example. Well, congratulations, Jeannie, you’ve done it, or congratulations to all three winners. Now note that you can also say congratulations to someone when something nice has happened to them. For example, I’m being discharged tomorrow. That is good news. Congratulations or Congratulations, the doctor said you have a son. Now there are several more formal ways of congratulating someone for example, Instead of just saying congratulations, you can say, I must congratulate you on your new job, or let me offer you my congratulations on your success. Or we can say, let me be the first to congratulate you on a wise decision. Or we can say, may I congratulate you again on your excellent performance. So if you want to sound a little bit less formal than all these big expressions, you can simply say congratulations, you don’t have to say me, I congratulate or I congratulate you or I’d like to congratulate you. All of these words are very useful if you want to use them in a formal situation where you really don’t know the people or when you decide to sound formal, because you think it’s the proper kind of language to use. So if it is the case, yeah, go ahead and use the formal language I just told you about. If not Just be cool and say congratulations. That’s more than enough.

5:04
And now what about accepting compliments and congratulations? Now you can accept compliments with several different expressions. You can say for example, Oh, thanks. Or you can say it’s very nice of you to say so or I’m glad you think so. But you can always go with Thank you or thanks, because that works all the time. Now, if someone compliments you on something you are wearing, you can also say something like, it’s nice, isn’t it? For example, if I say to you, I do like your dress. You can reply by saying, yes, it’s nice, isn’t it? And you can also respond by saying how old it is or how or where you got it. For example, if I say to you, that’s a nice blouse. You can say Have you not seen this before? I’ve had it for years. Or if I say that’s a nice piece of jewelry, you can say Yeah, my husband bought it for me. Now if someone compliments you on your skill, you can say something modest. That implies that what you did was not very difficult or skillful. For example, oh, there’s nothing to it. And that means that it is not that difficult. Or if I say, terrific job, you can say, Well, I don’t know about that. But here you got to be careful because the tone of voice you use when you say these things can make a lot of difference between sounding humble or arrogant. So think about the gestures, the way you look, when you say that kind of thing. Your how your face looks when you say it, and the way you say it. You don’t want to sound arrogant, but these are ways to say that that was nothing. There is nothing to it. And obviously when someone congratulate you, you can simply say thanks, or Thank you. So remember, we have different ways to accept compliments and congratulations and these are very Nice ways to try something different than just saying thanks all the time. But again, if you are in doubt, if you’re not so sure that this is the right sentence you want to use, you can always use things. It’s the safe choice. But remember, being safe will not make your English perfect. You have to risk making mistakes, you have to risk saying the wrong things until you learn how to say them right in the right places. So that was all I wanted to tell you about complementing and congratulating someone. And now let’s move to the negative side of it, how to criticize someone. Now people do not usually Express criticism strongly unless they know the person they are criticizing. Well, if you want to criticize someone for doing something badly, you can say something like, that’s not very good, or I think that’s not quite right. For example, what answer have you got? Oh, dear 33. That’s not very good. I think your answers wrong. A teacher might criticize a student’s work by saying, you can do better than this. Now, if you want to criticize someone a little bit more strongly, especially when you want to do that, because they did something wrong or stupid, you can use a question beginning. Why did you or why didn’t you know questions like this can be used to express great anger or distress or merely desperation? For example, why did you send him? Why Ben? or Why did you lie to me? Or we can say, why did you do it? Why didn’t you tell me how you can be more direct and say, You shouldn’t have or you should have, for example, you shouldn’t have given him money that was wrong. Or you should have asked me You shouldn’t have done that without getting back to me first. Now some people say How could you when they feel very strongly that someone has been thoughtless Obviously thoughtless is the opposite of thoughtful for example, how could you you knew I didn’t want anyone to know? Or you can say, How could you be so stupid. Now there are other ways of expressing criticism, which are even more direct or impolite. So be careful, you will probably offend the other person, it’s not cool. If you’re not absolutely sure that you do mean to offend someone, please stay away from expressions like these or use them at your peril. For example, we can say, That’s no good, or that won’t do or you can say, this is wrong, these are all wrong. Or you can say You’re hopeless. So using strong criticism is simply saying things directly, you stupid, you liar, etc. You don’t use any

9:52
other language to make it a little bit lighter. You don’t say I think or I believe or nothing like that. So These were different ways you can use to criticize someone. And before we learned about different ways we can use to compliment and to congratulate someone. I hope you found the information I shared with you today useful, but before I go, let me remind you that there is a very nice and short quiz you can use to check your understanding of everything we talked about in this episode. You can find the link in the description of this episode. This was your host Danny saying thank you very much for listening. And I will see you tomorrow in a new episode from perfect English podcast.

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