One of the most powerful forms of human communication is praise. We all need to be praised whether it’s at school, work or with our family and friends. Praise works wonders for our self-esteem and can dramatically increase our performance.

Remember when you were a child learning to read or ride a bike? Did your parents’ encouragement and words of praise  bolster your confidence making you want to try harder?

In your professional lives, how often have you longed for your line manager or boss to give you praise for a particular task completed on time and successfully? Or simply to have your hard work recognised?

Just as it’s important to be praised or receive praise, it’s equally, I would say more important, to praise or give praise to someone. Praising someone often has a positive effect on the giver, too.

So, how would you praise someone in English? Here are 10 expressions you could adopt (use). I have used and adapted these expressions from Macmillan Dictionary’s Blog Post by Liz Potter . Here we go.

“Well Done”
This is the most common expression of praise you will hear in English.
A: “I ran my first half-marathon last Sunday.”
B: “Well done! You must be so proud of yourself.”

We use this for milestones and important achievements and events like passing an exam, getting a new job, having a baby, getting married and so on.
“Congratulations, Tom. I hear you got promoted to Head of Sales.”

“Good for you”
This is used informally and it is especially used when you approve of what someone has done.
“I hear you told the client you would only start work on the project when the first payment was paid and not before. Good for you. Our clients need to be reminded that we’re not a charity.”

“Way to go/ Good job”
Another informal way of giving praise for something someone has done well.

“Way to go, Jack. I knew you could do it.” (This is more informal than the expression below)

A: “We should finish negotiations on time.”
B: “Good job, Matthew. Excellent news.”

“Good thinking”
An expression you would use particularly where you need ideas and someone comes up with a good one.
A: “The best way forward would be to get our customer feedback before we proceed to the next stage.”
B: “Good thinking, Max.”

“Good/Excellent idea”
A: “Pizza, anyone?”
B: “Excellent idea. Where’s the menu?”

“You’re a genius”
“You’re a genius. I don’t know what I’d do without you!” (My husband often tells me this!!)

“Let’s hear it for”…./”Hats off to…”
These expressions are often used when you want to inform others that someone deserves praise
“Let’s hear it for Jeff who singlehandedly sealed the most lucrative deal for us today.”

“Compliments to the chef!”
Particularly important if you’re invited to a dinner party and the dinner was prepared by the host or hostess.

From the Italian word and now used extensively in most languages. You often hear it in theatres when the audience praises the actors.


Have I missed any expressions out? Please let me know. What do you say when you praise someone in English?

Hey before you go, 
If you liked this lesson and want to receive more lessons directly to your inbox,  why not join the EWAT community?
Not only will you receive your FREE weekly lessons every Friday, you’ll also receive 3 more bonuses completely free.
Sign up today and be a part of the fast-growing EWAT community of professionals.
I can’t wait to welcome you.