How to Give Compliments in Spanish for Formal and Informal Occasions
That’s a great job!
You look gorgeous!
Compliments express something positive about someone. It can be about their work, looks, behavior, or pretty much anything you want.
The point with compliments is that they make people feel good. Sometimes, compliments are earned and real, as in professional settings; other times they are just a way of showing appreciation and interest.
But, what makes a compliment a compliment? How do you give compliments in Spanish? And how do you differentiate compliments in formal and informal occasions? We’ll answer these and other questions in this post.
What’s a Compliment, Anyway?
According to the dictionary, a compliment is “an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration.” Giving a compliment is a kind thing to do. Compliments are positive comments about someone’s work, attitude, appearance, or perhaps about a specific achievement in their life.
We all have given and received compliments in our daily life, as they are a common feature of our culture. But, what about giving compliments in another culture? What about giving compliments in Spanish?
How to Give Compliments in Spanish
Due to the nature of compliments, it’s important to make sure that what you are saying is not offensive in any way. However, offering compliments in Spanish is not that hard. You just need to learn the vocabulary and the structure of compliments.
There are many ways to say compliments in Spanish; it all depends on the context. You can’t say the same compliment in a formal occasion that you would in a more informal situation. That’s true in Spanish, English, or any other language.
Compliments in Spanish for Formal Occasions
The first compliments to learn are those that can be used in your work environment. A compliment in your professional career is much different than a compliment anywhere else. The atmosphere is formal, as you are working and everything you do and say is being evaluated.
The following is a list of compliments in Spanish that you can use in work-related situations:
¡Buen trabajo! – Good job!
¡Bien hecho! – Well done!
¡Excelente presentación! – Excellent presentation!
Su currículum es impresionante. – Your resume is impressive.
Here, we are talking about all those big family reunions where formality can be felt in the atmosphere. This is not you and your siblings watching a football game, this is more about those Thanksgiving dinners filled with uncles and aunts, or Christmas Eves with cousins you barely knew you had.
In these situations, you can’t let yourself go. Even though this is family, the situation requires some formality. These are the kind of compliments in Spanish helpful for this kind of context:
¡La cena estuvo deliciosa! – The dinner was delicious!
¡Qué hermosa está su casa! – You have a beautiful house!
¡Todo estuvo excelente, muchas gracias! – Everything was great, thank you!
Weddings, Graduations and Other Celebrations
These are the compliments you should say to your Spanish-speaking friends during formal occasions such as weddings, family gatherings (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), graduations, performances, and other important events.
¡Me encanta tu vestido! – I love your dress!
¡Te ves muy hermosa! – You look very beautiful!
¡Te ves muy guapo! – You look very handsome!
¡Estoy orgulloso de ti! – I’m proud of you.
¡Creo en ti! – I believe in you!
¡El espectáculo estuvo genial! – The show was amazing!
¡Te luciste! – You made an impression!
Compliments in Spanish for Informal Occasions
Now, let’s see some of the most common compliments in Spanish. Those that you say in everyday situations, to your boyfriend or girlfriend, to your kids, or maybe to a person that you’ve just met.
First, we’ll see some compliments about how people look, for no other reason that because there are plenty of them. Then, we’ll learn some compliments about personality traits.
Compliments in Spanish for Women
In Spanish, there are many ways to express that a girl or woman is beautiful. However, it’s important to mention that this is not an objectification of women, but an important part of a culture where chivalry and traditional gender roles are widespread.
Just remember to be careful not to cross the line in your wish to give a compliment to a woman:
¡Qué guapa! – How pretty!
¡Te ves genial! – You look great!
¡Te ves radiante! – You look radiant!
¡Te ves preciosa! – You look gorgeous!
¡Eres muy hermosa! – You are beautiful!
Tienes una hermosa sonrisa. – You have a beautiful smile.
Compliments in Spanish for Men
For historical and cultural reasons, the compliments in Spanish for men are not as varied and diverse than those for women. However, most of them can be used for both cases, as long as you take care of the gender in the adjective.
¡Qué guapo! – How handsome!
¡Te ves muy bien! – You look great!
¡Eres lindo! – You’re cute!
¡Qué elegante! – How fancy!
¡Eres un caballero! – You’re a gentleman!
¡Eres un buen tipo! – You are a cool guy!
The following compliments work for both genders equally:
Tienes un gran sentido del humor. – You have a great sense of humor.
Ese(a) _______________ se te ve bien. – That _______________ looks nice on you.
Tienes buen gusto. – You have good taste.
Me gusta tu estilo. – I like your style.
Me encanta tu cabello. – I love your hair.
For this last part, I’m introducing you to some examples of how to form these kinds of compliments. Then, you can simply add the adjectives included below in order to create your own compliments.
Eres buena persona. – You’re a good person.
Eres muy amable. – You’re very kind.
Eres inteligente. – You’re intelligent.
¡Eres dulce! – You’re sweet!
Eres _____________ . – You’re ______________ .
atractivo(a) – attractive
divertido(a) – fun
gracioso – funny
listo(a) – smart
interesante – interesting
agradable – nice
simpático – friendly
profesional – professional
eficiente – efficient
¡Eres un Excelente Estudiante!
You are an excellent Spanish student! And now you know how to give (and receive) compliments in Spanish. Practice giving compliments to your Spanish-speaking friends, and let us know how it went in the comments section below.
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