16. Compliments

The following phrases can be used to compliment people on their personal qualities or abilities:

You are… with strong stress on are and the following adjective or noun.

You are so…

You are such a…

How… you are!

I wish I had your…

On possessions:

You’ve got a nice/ lovely/ beautiful/ wonderful…

What a nice/ lovely/ beautiful/ wonderful… you’ve got!

I wish I’d got a… like yours.

On clothes and appearance:

That’s a nice/ lovely/ beautiful/ wonderful… (you are wearing)

What a nice/ lovely/ beautiful/ wonderful… (you are wearing)

You do look nice/ smart in/with that…

I (do) like your… do (stressed) makes the statement more emphatic.

On achievements: The form used here usually depends on the type of achievement. However, the general verbs be and do can be used in various situations:

You were wonderful/ superb/ magnificent!

You were great! - More colloquial

You did very well!

To compliment somebody on something he has made, mended, etc, we can say:

What a nice (-looking)/ convenient/ delicious…

You’ve done a wonderful job.

You’ve done wonders with the…

A compliment can be introduced by I must say.

If you consider the compliment to be deserved you can simply say Thank you, but this may sound self-satisfied or immodest. Here are some modest responses:

To compliment on personal qualities and abilities:

Do you really think so?

(Oh) I wouldn’t say that.

(Oh) I don’t think I’m (any) better/ more… than anybody else.

(Oh) I don’t think I’m better… than you/ anybody else.

You’re… too (yourself).

On possessions, clothes:

Do you like it (them)?

I’m glad you like it.

Yes, I’m quite/ rather pleased with it (myself).

It’s not bad, is it? - usually an understatement, used out of modesty (real or assumed)

On appearance, clothes:

Do I?

Does it?

Do you like it?

On achievements: Here either ‘echo’ question or one of the responses given above can be used, depending on the situation and the form of the compliment.

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