Today you’re going to learn 15 other words for congratulations! Also check out 33 Ways to Say Yes in English.
OK, so your best friend has just got a new job.
What do you say to her?
You say “congratulations,” right?
Then she tells you that she’s just got engaged.
Do you say “congratulations” again?
Then she tells you that her brother has just been made prime minister.
Do you say “congratulations” AGAIN?
There are lots of different ways to say congratulations.
If you don’t want to say the same thing again and again, then you’ll need these!
Informal Ways to Say Congratulations
Some good news is really, really good.
For example, your sister-in-law has just told you that she’s been selected to go on a space mission to Mars with Justin Timberlake. Very good news.
And some good news is … just good news.
For example, someone in the hostel you’re staying at has finally managed to open that difficult jar of beans. Yeah — good news. But not that good.
When we congratulate people, our level of enthusiasm changes depending on the news.
If you’re too enthusiastic about the beans, then you’ll just seem weird:
Some phrases work for either situation, and some don’t.
Let’s look at them one by one.
This phrase is suitable for pretty much any informal situation. The key here is how you say it.
Here’s an example for something big:
“I got the tickets for the gig! And … We’ve got backstage passes!”
Here’s an example for something small:
“Did you remember to lock the door?”
We can also use this one sarcastically:
“Oh no! I just deleted the whole contacts list.”
“Oh … Nice one, Barry.”
This one isn’t so suitable for big news. It would feel a little unenthusiastic if you said this to someone who had just won an Oscar, for example.
Save it for the little things:
“OK. I managed to rent some nice bikes for the day.”
“Good one! Let’s hit the road!”
However, this one is particularly good if you want to be sarcastic:
“Oh … I think I’ve put the whole thing on backwards.”
“Haha! Good one!”
Kudos is originally Greek and means praise or glory.
It kind of means “The universe believes you deserve respect! And I agree!”
We usually use it when we want to congratulate someone on something they’ve achieved — usually through hard work or a job well done.
“I’m finally getting a day off after completing that massive coding project.”
If kudos means “The universe believes you deserve respect,” then respect in this context simply means “I believe you deserve respect.”
It’s more personal and a little more friendly.
“I just learned 40 songs in one weekend.”
“Respect! Can you sing one now?”
Would you be surprised if I told you that this was short for “fish man in the hat”?
Then you should be, because it isn’t.
It’s actually short for congratulations!
Even though it’s a shorter, more informal word, we still don’t really use it for small news. Save it for the bigger stuff.
“We won the match. Again!”
Sometimes when your friend has done something really well, you feel proud of them, right?
What better way of telling them that you’re proud of them than by telling them that they rock, as in “rock n’ roll” — you know, in the way that Freddie Mercury completely and utterly rocked!
I mean — just look at him!
“Two weeks of yoga, and I’m already learning how to fly!”
“Yeah! You rock!”
Can you feel the enthusiasm?
As you can imagine, this is basically the same as “You rock!”
Your friend did something amazing! Now they rule!
Rule what? The world? The school? My neighbour’s tractor?
They just … generally … rule! Stop asking questions!
“They wouldn’t listen, but I just kept making my point, and in the end, they decided to follow my advice!”
Way to go!
I really like this phrase.
When you use it positively, it’s absolutely bursting with (full of) enthusiasm and energy.
“Your book got a review in the New York Times, and they loved it? Way to go, man!”
But this one is also very commonly used as a sarcastic phrase:
“I don’t believe it. We have to do the whole thing again just because Barry didn’t remember to submit his file? Way to go, Barry! Thanks a lot!”
Damn that Barry.
Less Informal Ways to Say Congratulations
Of course, most of the phrases we’ve looked at so far would not be suitable in every situation.
If you met the queen of Sweden, and she told you that she was recently voted the most popular Swedish queen ever, you probably wouldn’t say, “You rock!” or “Way to go, Queenie!”
Unless you’re the king of Sweden. In which case, it’s great to have you reading this blog, Carl.
I’m really pleased for you.
This one is definitely very nice and certainly suitable for formal situations:
“You’ve been voted the most popular Swedish queen ever? I’m really pleased for you!”
Good for you!
It sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it?
I mean, carrots are good for you.
Long walks in the park are good for you.
But we can also use this phrase to mean “This is good news for you, and I’m happy for you!”
“Gustav has just told me the news. I got the promotion!”
“Good for you!”
This is short and simple and very efficient.
We usually use this phrase to refer directly to some work that someone has done — that someone has done well. You might say that the work was … well done.
“I blocked the hack attack and removed all the viruses. We’re safe now!”
“Well done, Tammy!”
This is more or less the same as “well done.”
“I blocked the hack attack and removed all the viruses. We’re safe now!
“Good work, Tommy!”
But what if the work was even better?
Then we can upgrade:
“I blocked the hack attack and removed all the viruses AND restructured the mainframe so it won’t happen again.”
“Excellent job, Tammy.”
Of course, if you like, you can change excellent for any adjective that means “very good.”
It’s always nice to hear people describe how your actions make them feel (when it makes them feel good, of course).
This is a great way to reassure people that they’ve done well.
It’s particularly useful if you’re someone’s boss or supervisor — it provides encouragement and gives people motivation to do their jobs better.
“So you’ve been offered positions at Tesla, NASA and Clark and Miller? I’m impressed!”
You can say “I’m impressed,” or, if you’d prefer to sound like Roger Moore, you can go for “impressive.”
“We have built this earth destruction machine out of nothing but pure gold. What do you say to that, Mr Bond?”
So now, next time you want to say “congratulations,” try one of these instead!