How to express yourself – Complimenting others

Everyone likes to receive a compliment. Even more so, everyone who gives a compliment likes to see the joy of the ones who receive the compliment. When giving someone a compliment in a language not as familiar as their native one, you need to be careful as to what you say and to whom you say it. So, for the next few minutes we’ll examine some simple expressions that we can use to compliment someone.

‘You look beautiful!’

This can be the highest praise and most flattering compliment one can receive. You would use this expression if you wanted to compliment someone very close to you, particularly a woman. If you are a male you could use this to show affection to your girlfriend, your sister, your daughter, your mother, your wife or a very close female friend. If you are a woman, you would use this with your close female friends and perhaps when speaking about a man, but not typically to a man.

‘You look handsome!’

This phrase would be appropriate for a woman complimenting a man. You would not use this phrase when trying to compliment a woman as it would be awkward. The word ‘Handsome’ is masculine in nature. In older English literature like Jane Austen, it was appropriate to refer to a woman as handsome, however that is no longer the case.

This phrase, while not overly intimate and affectionate, can be used in a variety of situations when you want to compliment a male. You could use this phrase to compliment a man or a boy. You could use it with your father, brother, any male family member and close friend.

If you want to be more specific about how one looks, you can use the following phrase and combine it with the adjectives listed below:

‘You Look ________!’

 

Ravishing

You can use this adjective when referring to someone that you are intimate with. It would be inappropriate to refer to another woman as ravishing if you were not intimate or very close. You would only refer to a woman as ravishing as it is feminine in nature.

Delightful

When you call someone delightful, you are complimenting more then just their appearance. Calling someone “delightful” refers to the whole person, including attitude, appearance and personality. For example, when someone says: “You are a delightful young lady”, it is implied that the subject could be kind, warm, well-mannered, polite, cheerful and pleasant. This term is most often used by an older person referring to a younger male or female. For example, a grandmother could be referring to her grandson as a “delightful young man”.  This term is somewhat more dated and used less among younger crowds. It can also be used to describe non-human things such as movies, food, shows, etc.

Gorgeous

This term refers to someone who is very beautiful. Most commonly used when describing someone of the opposite sex to a group of friends or acquaintances. It refers to primarily physical beauty. However it can also be used to describe inanimate objects such as a gorgeous dress, car, etc…

Stunning

If someone is stunned, it means that they are incapacitated; unable to move. So if someone is stunning, it typically means that they are so beautiful that people pause momentarily, as though they were stunned, to notice this individual. You could use this when referring to both a man and woman. You typically wouldn’t use this adjective to describe someone that you are not familiar with. Often, a person will use this to compliment an item of clothing that someone is wearing such as a dress or a piece of jewelry.

Striking

If something is striking, it means that it grabs attention. If you were to strike something you would use your hand or another object to hit it. A slap on the face would be a strike. If you received a strike on the face, it would without a doubt grab your attention. Similarly,  if someone is striking, it means that they have grabbed your attention. Though no one would ever want to be hit, striking, in this case, is not a negative adjective. You could use this with a variety of people. This is not limited to individuals that you are intimate with. It can include casual friends as well. You can use striking to modify beautiful or handsome. ‘You are strikingly beautiful!’ Or ‘You are strikingly handsome!’ Is an example of this. You can use this to talk about objects as well, in the case of an article of clothing or jewelry.

Now that you understand what is appropriate, you can add this to your english conversations when complimenting others. Let me know if you have any questions by filling out the form below. If there is anything you would like to see in future posts, please let me know! Keep calm and learn on!

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