Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Michelle Kaplan
"The New York Radio Girl"

Have you ever been given a compliment that really made you so happy?

Do you hear people give compliments in English and want to learn how to do this?

There is thought that goes into giving somebody a nice compliment, and you always want to be sure that it is fitting for the person and the situation.

We’re talking about compliments, how to give good ones, and how this is a part of the culture that you may want to embrace. We have a listener question that may be of interest to you.

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We have a listener question that may be of interest to you.

Hi Lindsay,

I love your show, and I listen to it all the time! I am hoping that my question might make it onto the show someday. I really want to know about adjectives used to describe something or someone. Let me give you some background so that you know what I mean.

I think many American people often praise each other, which is one of my favorite parts of the cultures. For example, when I meet someone, he or she often says to me “Hi, how are you?” and then “your shirt is cool!” It usually goes something like that, and I enjoy it very much. I’d like to adapt to this culture by trying to describe it with something good and various positive adjectives. I do understand that some of the adjectives such as “lovely” or “pretty cute” are more feminine expressions.

So, it would be very helpful if you could give us tips about this. I would love to know how to use this in conversation and get people to understand me.

Thanks,

Josh

Be Thoughtful With Your Compliments

This is a great question because knowing how to give compliments in the right way is important.

It may not be a great idea to generalize words completely to one gender.

You want to be sure that you are mindful of this, so that the compliment comes across the right way.

You could maybe hear a man saying” lovely” or “pretty cute”, but there’s more to it than just that.

There may be times that you want to say that words may be considered more feminine or masculine, and that’s understandable.

Listen for what others are saying around you, and use that as cues to what you could be focusing on.

You want to be sure that your compliment is appropriate and fitting for the situation, as well as the relationship you have with this person.

You also want to be sure that your compliments are always sincere, otherwise it all comes off as fake.

Neutral Ways To Compliment Somebody’s Appearance

Today we will give you some more neutral ways to compliment appearance.

Yes there are times when you want to say something nice because you mean it.

It may be best to focus on a certain aspect of their appearance to keep it simple and concise.

Here are a couple of examples that may be helpful, and you can try them out.

1. I like your ___________. This is so simple but so very useful. You are focusing on just one aspect of their appearance, and it will likely be taken in the best way. This is a great one to try out, particularly if you are just starting out with compliments. It’s to the point but also gentle enough to use.

2. That’s a really nice/cool/awesome ______________. This is another one that is perfect when you are just trying out compliments. It focuses on just one aspect of their appearance or something they are wearing. It shows that you noticed this one detail, and it will go over well with the person you are complimenting.

3. Cool/nice/awesome/fun/funny _____________________________. These are all the types of things that people love to hear about themselves. You are focusing in on one of their best traits, and therefore it makes them feel good. Always be sure that you mean it, and that the compliment is fitting to the person and the situation. It’s a great place to start!

All of these compliments work well as a neutral way to say something nice to somebody else.

Be sure that you are sincere in whatever compliments you are giving, otherwise it comes off as fake or forced.

These are all great starting points as you learn the fine art of giving the right compliment.

Using Basic Words Works Just Fine

The truth is, we don’t need to get too complicated here.

Sure we have spoken about words like stunning, beautiful, and things like that which may have their place.

We can just use very basic words, and this is not just about gender or what sounds right.

This is also about keeping things direct and concise, in certain situations.

The goal isn’t always to have jazzy vocabulary, as sometimes it is helpful to be to the point and be simple in the way you speak.

This is one of those situations where being straightforward and to the point works best.

In the situation Josh is describing in his letter, it seems like quick compliments are being thrown out as a point of reference.

They don’t need to be complicated or too deep in a situation like this.

There are times for being a bit more in depth, but that’s not always the case.

Just know what you are dealing with in terms of the situation, as well as the person you are talking to and the relationship that you have with them.

We talked about this very thing in a previous episode, and you should check it out for some background.

A Deeper Way To Compliment Someone In English

Compliments are an important part of the culture and of conversation, so you want to know how to give them.

Roleplay To Help

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are giving each other some nice compliments.

Michelle: “Hey Lindsay.”

Lindsay: “Hey Michelle. I like your shoes.”

Michelle: “Aw, thanks. They’re new!”

Lindsay: “Awesome!”

Lindsay: “Hey Michelle. That’s a really cool jacket.”

Michelle: “Thanks!”

Michelle: “Hey Lindsay–nice jeans.”

Lindsay: “Thanks!”

Lindsay: “Michelle–funny comment on the blog today.”

Michelle: “I appreciate that!”

Takeaway

We can’t generalize gender, even though there are certain words that are more masculine or feminine in nature.

There is a lot more to the conversation, and that’s important to remember when it comes to something like compliments.

Today we wanted to give you some simple ways to compliment others, and they work well.

They are simple, but useful and can be a great way to make a meaningful connection.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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