#260: How to Express Appreciation in English | 6 Ways to Encourage Others
“Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.”
— Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Think about that. With the power of your words, you have the ability to motivate and inspire your coworkers in English. You can make a friend smile on her worst day. And you help a family member make the right choice in a difficult situation.
Most importantly, you can give others the gift of knowing you understand, see, and value them when you express sincere appreciation.
If you struggle with finding the right words to express appreciation and encouragement in English, today’s Confident English lesson will help.
I want to share with you 6 ways to express sincere appreciation in English. Of course, I’ll provide examples with real-world scenarios as well.
By the end, you’ll know exactly how to lift others up with your appreciation and encouragement in English.
How to Express Appreciation in English | 6 Ways to Encourage Others
The Dos and Don’ts of Encouragement and Appreciation
Let’s start with a few dos and don’ts to ensure you are able to express your appreciation sincerely.
We’ll review 3 don’ts first and then look at what to do instead.
Don’t Be Vague Or Ambiguous
Kind words can sound disingenuous when they sound vague or ambiguous
In other words, simply saying “great job” or “cheer up” doesn’t have the same effect as focusing on why you think someone did a great job or why YOU think they should cheer up.
Don’t Overuse Superlatives
The overuse of superlatives like ‘incredible’, ‘amazing’, and ‘awesome’ loses its power after the very first use.
Remember, superlatives are extreme adjectives that describe the extraordinary. Using these without anything to back up the reason for your kind words could unintentionally come across as something being said out of formality or necessity, rather than genuine care
Don’t Make Impersonal Statements
Similar to ambiguous words of encouragement, appreciation, or compliments, when your comments aren’t specific or tailored to the person, they can sound duplicitous.
While your intention may have been to raise the person’s spirits, an impersonal comment may register as hollow, easily forgettable words.
To avoid those don’ts, here’s what to do instead to express sincere appreciation:
To ensure your words of encouragement or appreciation sound genuine, start with how you want to make the other person feel:
Tell them what you value most about them or why you value them
Recognize their pain points and any effort, small or big, that they’ve taken to address their pain.
In other words, show them your appreciation of their efforts and that you value their thoughts.
Focus on details that can uplift the other person. Letting them know that you’re there for support or that their hard work paid off makes all the difference.
Here are 6 ways to successfully offer genuine words of encouragement and appreciation in English.
1: Highlight Their Impact
If something they said or did had a positive impact, let them know by saying:
- Thanks to/because of you, [X]…
- You made me smile when you said/with, “[X]”; thank you.
- I appreciate that you [X]…
Scenario #1: Imagine a parent’s efforts at your child’s school helped your child avoid a health scare, you might say “Because of you I’m able to send my child to school without worrying about a severe allergic reaction; thank you so much.”
2: Appreciate Their Efforts
Sometimes, simply acknowledging the difficulties a person is facing helps them feel seen. You can express your appreciation of their efforts by:
1) Recognizing the cause of their difficulty or pain
2) Acknowledging the steps they’ve taken, their efforts, or their response
- I know you’re doing the best you can and I’m so proud of you for never giving up.
- I know X is hard right now and I appreciate that you’re Y.
- Thank you for always [X] despite [Y].
Scenario #2: Perhaps, a coworker has been dealing with a difficult client. You may say, “I know things are tough right now and I appreciate that you’re working hard to understand and meet the client’s needs despite their behavior.”
On the other hand, when you feel thrilled or appreciative of someone’s efforts, you can say:
- Wow, I’m blown away by the way you handled [X].
- You are doing so well with [X] and I know you’ll achieve your goal soon.
Scenario #3: In the same way, after your colleague successfully handles the difficult client, you may say, “Wow, I’m blown away by the way you patiently handled the client’s demands. It wasn’t easy and I admire your determination.”
3: Cheer Them On
When someone has worked hard or is continuing to work hard, to achieve a goal, genuine words of encouragement go a long way.
To encourage someone, you could say:
- Good luck with [X]; I know you can [Y].
- You’re so talented at [X] and I can see that you’re getting better with every passing day.
- In the beginning, you [X] and now you [Y]. I have no doubt you can [Z]!
- You’ve got this; I know you can get through this!
Scenario #4: Imagine your friend has been working hard to learn English, but she’s feeling stuck.
You might encourage her by saying, “In the beginning, you had trouble clearly expressing your opinion and now I see you confidently sharing your thoughts in conversations with others. I have no doubt that you can present your thoughts at the next meeting.”
4: Tell Them You’re Thinking About Them
The easiest and simplest way to show someone that you value them and appreciate them is by simply telling them they’re on your mind.
- I wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you; I know you will [X].
- You don’t have to answer this or say anything, but I want you to know that my thoughts are with you.
- Just a little reminder that I’m proud of you and to keep doing what you’re doing.
Scenario #5: Imagine a friend is dealing with the loss of their business. You may not want to bombard them with messages at this time, but you could simply say, “I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you; I know you will pull through this.”
5: Show Solidarity
Similarly, nothing could be more valuable and uplifting than letting someone know that they’re not alone, especially after they’ve trusted you with their innermost thoughts and shown vulnerability.
You could say:
- I know it wasn’t easy to say this. Thank you for trusting me and sharing this with me.
- I’m so glad that we can share this moment together.
- I’m grateful that we can talk about this with each other.
Scenario #6: Perhaps, your child has had a difficult time learning a new subject at school. They may open up to you and let you know what they’re thinking.
As a part of your response, you could appreciate their openness by saying, “I know it wasn’t easy to say this. Thank you for trusting me and sharing this with me.”
6: Reveal What You Admire Most
- Sometimes, we can be our own worst critics. That’s why eye-opening compliments that help us recognize our value resonates most with us.
- So, when complimenting others, you could say,
- [X] could not have been easy. I admire your courage and confidence.
- Not everyone can [X]; I appreciate that you [Y].
- I admire your [X] because…
Scenario #7: Imagine a colleague is having a hard time seeing how incredible they are as a team member and as a person. In conversation, you might say to them, “Not everyone can understand another’s perspective; I appreciate that you are so empathetic.”
In this lesson, you’ve learned 21 different sentence structures you can use to express sincere appreciation in English.
With that in mind, I’d love for you to practice. Choose 2 or 3 sentence structures from today. Write down genuine words of appreciation for someone you know.
Try using what you learned in this lesson to do so.
To ensure its accuracy, you can share in the comments below.
P.S. Are you looking for a community to provide support, help you stay motivated, and guarantee that you grow? Check out our Confident Women Community.
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Hi, recently my project manager and a high importance contractor had a fight off work and they decided to stop workign together. After several attemps to remedy this they stated never to work in a team. This week we had the first meeting after they decided to leave their ego aside and do what’s best for the project. I tried to say something to recognize their efforts and appreciate what they’ve done so far; however I could find the words and felt pretty nervous to touch the subjet. Kind of not mentioning the big elephant in the room. I’ll apply… Read more »
I love this post. Very insightful.
I am a very expressive person, I love to show people around me how I love and appreciate them. Thanks to you I’m now able to do that now in English. I really appreciate your efforts in creating these remarkable lessons that we can’t find anywhere else. Thank you so much Annemarie.
Appreciate my child’s effort.
“I am thrilled to hear that, you’ve passed your exams in high school and I am pretty sure, you’ll make it to the University. Well done & all the best in your future endeavors.”