The Right and Wrong Ways to Respond to a Compliment in English

by and | 21 comments

Giving compliments is a great way to improve someone’s day, make a friend, build a relationship, improve someone’s confidence or just feel good about spreading joy wherever you go.  

But giving compliments seems to be a lot easier than taking them for most people; in fact, there is how we should respond to a compliment and how most people actually do it.

Many English speakers, especially women, respond to compliments with embarrassment or even disagree with your compliment, probably because they are afraid of seeming arrogant which sometimes means they go too far to sound humble and actually start insulting themselves and even the person who complimented them in the first place!  

This definitely makes responding to compliments less than simple! So, what can you expect to hear when you give a compliment and what should you actually say when you receive one?

In today’s lesson, I share 4 real-life examples of compliments with how we should respond and what you might actually hear. Here are the situations you’ll learn about:

  1. A compliment from a friend on your clothing
  2. A compliment from a colleague at work
  3. A compliment from another mom on your child’s behavior
  4. A compliment from a stranger

Get real-life examples of how to respond to a compliment in English.

Lesson by Annemarie

Want to know more about how to compliment others? Especially colleagues at work?

Get my lesson on How to Compliment Colleagues at Work in English.

Now I’d love to hear from you! 

Do you have a difficult time accepting compliments? I’m curious what is most common in your culture: do people generally accept a compliment with “thank you” or is there something else they say? Tell me about your experience in the comment section below.

And, of course, I have a challenge for you. Review the three example compliments below and tell me how you would respond in English. You can share your answers in the comment section.

  • Dinner was delicious!! Thank you so much for inviting us over. We had a wonderful time this evening. (from a neighbor)
  • Great work on getting the project done on time! I know it was a tight deadline. (from your boss)
  • What a great jacket! I love it. (from a stranger)

I look forward to hearing from you.

~ Annemarie

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