Complimenting others in any language is one of the nicest ways to make them feel good about themselves. In French, “c’est bien” (It’s good) is often considered to be enough, as compliments tend to be simple and to the point. However, there are some different French compliments you can say to brighten someone’s day.
Here are ten phrases which you can include in French conversation to show admiration and appreciation in numerous situations.
General French Compliments
1) C’est génial !
This is a widely used expression in French, which translates as “It’s great” into English. You can say this phrase in numerous situations, such as in response to someone’s achievement, or for a film, book, work of art, hobby, sport or another activity that you enjoy.
2) Beau travail !
“Beau travail,” or “good job” in English, is a great way to tell someone directly that they have done something well.
For example, if you want to praise someone for completing a task, you can say this phrase while putting your thumbs up, although this gesture is optional.
A more informal way of saying this would be bon boulout. You can find out more from our French slang articles.
3) C’est trop bien !
This phrase is more familiar and tends to be used more frequently by the younger generations. It means “It’s so good” in English, and is used in the same way as “C’est génial.” You can also say it when you eat a delicious tarte tatin or another tasty dish.
4) Bravo ! / Super !
The former French compliment has become widely associated with excited audiences applauding actors on a stage, especially in English. However, in French, either of these words can also be used to compliment someone on a personal achievement or a task well done. For instance, a university friend may have finally submitted their dissertation, or someone you know has completed a marathon (the sport, not the boxset kind!).
5) Félicitations !
This is how you can congratulate someone on a major life event. For example, they may have received a promotion at work or have a new job, they may have passed their exams, they may be getting married or are expecting a baby. Whatever the situation, this is an important word in French when celebrating a huge life event.
6) C’est délicieux !
The importance of food and sharing meals in France cannot be understated. Showing your appreciation for delicious cuisine is integral to French etiquette, so this is a very useful phrase.
You can also say “c’est excellent,” or if you have finished your meal, you can change these phrases into the simple past, i.e. “c’était délicieux” or “c’était excellent.”
7) Tu es un(e) ami(e) génial(e).
Telling a close friend how wonderful they are is a lovely way to show your appreciation of all the great things they do for you. If your friend is a man, you can say “Tu es un ami génial,” and if your friend is a woman, you can say “Tu es une amie géniale,” although there is very little difference in pronunciation. For a French-speaking friend who identifies as non-binary or a different gender, ask them about what they would prefer.
8) Ce costume vous va très bien.
If you would like to compliment someone on their amazing outfit, you can easily adapt this great phrase for the specific item of clothing and the person you’re speaking with.
“Ce costume” translates into English as “this suit,” or “that outfit.” You can also replace “vous” with “te” if you are complimenting a friend, family member or someone who is around the same age as you, or younger. You could also ask the following question after your compliment if you are interested to find out where they found that item of clothing: “Où l’avez-vous trouvé?” or “Où l’as-tu trouvé?”
Need more help with this distinction?Check out our article explaining the French Subjects: tu and vous.
9) Vous avez de bons goûts.
If you are invited to someone’s house, you can compliment them on the amazing interior by saying this phrase, meaning “You have good taste.” It can also be shortened to “Vous avez bon goût,” and like the eighth compliment on this list, you can say “Tu as” instead of “Vous avez.”
10) Il est très bon, ce petit gâteau !
“Petit” not only means “small” in French, but can also mean “unique,” “little-known” and “humble.” You can use “petit” to show your appreciation of a particular food or wine that has been made to perfection, but is homemade or has come from a small business or the market. You can change “gâteau” for any other food or drink, although make sure that the whole sentence agrees with the noun.
For example, with feminine nouns you would say, “Elle est très bonne, cette petite tarte.”
Finally, if someone compliments you, you can say, “Merci, ça me fait très plaisir !” to thank them for their kind words!
Using compliments is a great way to show your appreciation for others and hopefully this list will help you get started at incorporating more compliments in your French! Have any additional suggestions? Leave a comment below.
Sarah Dale, FrenchCrazy Contributor
After discovering a library book of 1000 French words, aged 7, Sarah has not stopped immersing herself in la langue de Molière and other wonderful languages.
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