English phrases with compliment

4 English Phrases with COMPLIMENT

Hey, you. Yes, you! The person reading this blog lesson. Your motivation is an inspiration to those around you, including me! I hope you know that today, and every day, you are appreciated!

In honor of National Compliment Day, it’s only appropriate to start the lesson with…. a compliment, to you! Thanks for continuously sharing your learning journey with me. By reading this, you are showing your motivation to learn. That motivation can (and probably is) inspiring someone around you to do the same. So, keep on being awesome!

Just in case you’re asking yourself, “what is a compliment?” let me define it for you. A compliment is a positive comment that says something good about another person. January 24 is National Compliment Day as I mentioned, so it’s a great reminder to spread a little more happiness today.

Because we’re talking about complimenting today, I am going to teach you 4 English phrases with compliment. These phrases will continue to help build your success and understanding of everyday English. Everyday English is the language that you will hear, see, and use with native speakers, while living or traveling abroad, and on TV shows and movies!


Don’t forget your bonus video for today’s lesson!

4 English Phrases with Compliment

to fish for compliments: to say something negative about yourself (or something you did) in order to hear something positive. The intention is to hear something positive!

EX: John is an excellent painter; however, he’s always talking bad about his paintings because he’s always fishing for compliments.

EX: Maureen has such low self-esteem she’s always fishing for compliments to feel better.

EX: I could tell Jane was fishing for compliments because she was saying she didn’t like the dress she just bought that day!


to pay someone a compliment: to give someone a compliment; to say something good about someone  [*Note: the verb “pay” is often used with “compliment”, because it is a common collocation – words that are often used together]

EX: Nancy is always paying her coworkers compliments. She is so sweet.

EX: It’s National Compliment Day, so I paid you a compliment in the beginning of this lesson.

EX: My husband paid me the best compliment on our anniversary the other night.


a backhanded complimenta negative comment that is disguised as something positive; it’s a rude comment that seems like something good

EX: Mike gave Tim a backhanded compliment when he said, “Good job acing that test. I didn’t think you could do it.”

He was saying something positive (“great job”) but it was actually negative because he was really saying that “he didn’t think he could do it”.

EX: The worst backhanded compliment I receieved was, “Hey! You’re a great driver for a woman.”

This is a rude comment because it’s saying (implying) that women are bad drivers. So even though something positive was said (you’re a great driver), it’s acutally rude in its entire context.

EX: It would be a backhanded compliment to tell someone, “that dress looks great because you don’t look as fat as usual.”


compliments ofused to identify who the giver of something free is

EX: The waitress brought over free drinks to my table and said, “these are compliments of the bartender.”

EX: I just received a bunch of free clothes, compliments of my best friend!

*COMPLIMENTS OF can also be used sarcastically to imply what the cause of something was

EX: My body is so sore, compliments of my workout yesterday.

EX: I am so tired, compliments of my newborn baby.

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s not enough to just read through this lesson and expect for the new vocabulary to stick (*stay*) in your mind for future use. It’s time for you to practice what you’ve learned and start using it today. Remember this lesson [and all of my weekly English lessons] are created to help you improve your everyday English. So how can you start using these expressions in your conversations?

First, get the bonus video and practice listening to these expressions!

Next, let’s practice with some fill in the blanks. Complete the paragraph below by using the correct phrases and be sure to pay attention to the time tenses.

I was incredibly excited today because I received a brand new outfit to wear for my birthday ____________ my mom! I went to celebrate at my favorite restaurant where we got drinks ___________ the manager because we were celebrating! Unfortunately, my friend wasn’t being very fun because she was complaining the whole time. It seemed like she was __________ compliments because she had nothing positive to say. I tried to _________ a few compliments but that didn’t help. She thought I was trying to give her _______ compliments, when there was nothing negative at all!

Click below to see the answers

Finally, try and make 1) your own practice sentences and 2) your own discussion questions to use with a conversation partner. You can use these questions as an example:

  • Have you ever received a backhanded compliment? If so, when?
  • When’s the last time you paid someone a compliment?

Complete these 3 activities and you will be on your way to speaking better English!

Until next time,

Happy Studying! ♥

Answers to the fill in the blanks: compliments of, compliments of, fishing for, pay her, backhanded


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  1. Farid on February 5, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Hello my dear Tutor,Jennifer
    Let me ask you this question , what is the best way to improve and bruch up my English.
    Have a good time
    Take care
    All the best

  2. Farid on January 31, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Hello My dear Jennifer
    Thank you so much for you help and assistance

    • Jennifer Nascimento on February 3, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      You’re welcome! 🙂

      • Farid on February 4, 2017 at 3:32 am

        Hi my dear jennifer..
        i am very interested in your English courses, i would like to iprove my English through your excellent experoences, let me inform you my dear jennifer that i am a lawyer and teachet..
        Now i am learing translation from English, French into Arabic and vice versa..
        therefore i consider you as my best Tutor..
        Have a good time
        All the best

        • Jennifer Nascimento on February 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          That is great, Farid! Those are admirable jobs, keep up the hard work and I am happy to help with these lessons!

          • Farid on February 8, 2017 at 9:31 am

            Hello my dear Tutor Jennifer.
            could you allow me to ask you the following questin :
            What is the diference between the following sentences in terms of grammar and semantic
            1-Days get longer and warmer in spring time.
            2-Days become longer abd warmer in spring time.
            Thank you so much for your kindness and help
            Take care
            Gave a good time
            All the best

          • Jennifer Nascimento on February 10, 2017 at 1:35 pm

            When get and become are followed by an adjective, they’re the same. “Become” could be considered a bit more formal

          • Fardi on February 11, 2017 at 5:11 am

            Hi my dear Tutor Jennifer..
            Thank you so much for your quick reply..,you are really marvelous prof..
            i appreciate all your work .
            Have a good time
            Take care
            All the best

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