The French author Victor Hugo once said: "A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil." When learning a new language, learning to give compliments is important to build any kind of relationships. Here are some important phrases to know if you find yourself wanting to let someone know you appreciate them.
No one loves anything more than being complimented on their natural beauty. Here are some phrases to keep in mind when you are searching to communicate your admiration:
“Vous avez de très beaux yeux.” - “You have very nice eyes.” Nothing is more charming than receiving a compliment on the eyes, the windows to the soul.
“J’adore tes cheveux.” - “I love your hair.” For more formal phrasing, for example if it was your first time meeting the person, you would say “J’adore vos cheveux.”
“Tu es très beau.” - “You are very handsome.” This is the masculine version when complimenting someone’s beauty. Below is the feminine version of this phrase.
“Tu es très belle.” - “You are very beautiful.” This is the feminine version when complimenting someone’s overall beauty.
“Votre sourire est doux.” - “Your smile is very gentle.” This sounds a bit off in English, but in French, the term ‘doux’ which literally translates to ‘soft’ is regarded as a compliment.
“Je n’ai jamais vu un visage aussi beau de toute ma vie.” - “I have never seen such a beautiful face in all my life.” This one is definitely intense, but if you are falling in love with someone, it is a very charming compliment. (Here are more phrases to flirt and be romantic in French )
“Vous êtes ravissante.” - “You are absolutely magnificent.” This is a phrase which can be heard in nearly all classic French films. It tends to be used by older generations, but it is quite the compliment to give.
“Je me noie dans ton regard.” - “I am drowning in your gaze.” In English, this might seem quite graphic, but in French, it is quite poetic. This definitely has romantic connotations to it, as well.
"Ta beauté naturelle est absolument radiante.” - “Your natural beauty is absolutely radiant.” This has to land within the top ten compliments to give someone. It is personal, gentle, and unique, without being too imposing.
“T’es trop mignonne !” - “You are too cute!” This is a very casual and friendly compliment to give to someone. Although “cute” in English can also mean attractive, ‘mignon’ in French just means adorable.
“Tu es chou.” - “You are cute.” Yes, ‘chou’ in French means cabbage, but who doesn’t love being complimented with the name of a vegetable? It is a very common compliment to give.
“J’aime la coloration de tes cheveux.” - “I like the color of your hair dye.” ‘Coloration’ is the tint of hair, and insinuates that the color is artificial rather than natural.
“Tu as bonne mine !” - “You seem well” To have ‘bonne mine’ in French means to inspire a good attitude and good health. This is something you would typically say to someone after they had suffered a cold or a difficult period of their life.
Let’s face it, style is important. Fashion, especially in the French world, is a statement about who you are, and people are meticulous about getting it right. Complimenting someone’s attire can be a sign that you have an eye for detail.
“Ta robe est très jolie.” - “Your dress is very pretty.” For a more elaborate compliment, you can say: “Ta robe est magnifique!,” meaning, “Your dress is beautiful!”
“Ton manteau est très beau.” - “Your coat is very nice.” Here comes the tricky part: there are so many different terms in French to define jacket, coat, vest, etc… As a native French speaker, I still struggle to identify which is which sometimes.
“Ta veste est très chic !” - “Your vest is very chic!” I would recommend using this compliment only when you really find the vest chic, otherwise it may come off as sarcasm.
“Votre tenue est très stylée." - “Your outfit is very stylish.” The word ‘stylé’ in French is a very hip and cool word to use. You will definitely sound more like a local if you incorporate it into your vocabulary.
“J’aime ton style.” - “I like your style.” Also a good compliment to use. It is more general, but refers to someone’s overall aesthetic taste in fashion and beauty. This one is definitely a crowd pleaser.
“Il est grave beau ton pantalon !” - “Your pants are really sick!” Alright, this one you will definitely not be learning in your regular French class. ‘Grave’ is an informal way to say “very,” but is not very, well, chic.
“Où as-tu acheté ce chapeau ? Il est vraiment cool !” - “Where did you buy this hat? It is really cool!” Asking someone where they bought something really emphasizes your admiration for someone’s piece of clothing. (Here are French phrases to use when shopping).
“Tes lunettes de soleil sont très classes.” - “Your sunglasses are very classy.” ‘Classe’ is another good hip term to know when speaking in French. It shows you “get” it. You can use ‘classe’ as a positive adjective for basically anything fashion related.
“Quelle-est la marque de tes chaussures ? Je veux les mêmes !” - “What brand are your shoes from? I want the same ones!” Perhaps the person won’t want to be copied, but if you are just stopping by for your travels, they may be more inclined to share their secrets with you.
“Ton choix de chemise est très raffiné." - “Your choice of a shirt is very sophisticated.” This one will definitely be more difficult to incorporate into a beginner’s vocabulary, but it is a good compliment to learn to use.
“Elles sont trop marrantes tes chaussettes !” - “Your socks are so cool!” This one is difficult to translate because ‘marrant’ is a mix of funny, original, and cool. If you say someone is ‘marrant,’ it means that you find them funny.
“Tu es parfaitement habillé pour l’occasion.” - “You are perfectly dressed for the occasion.” Definitely do not use this as a compliment if it is not clear the person has dressed up the occasion! Otherwise it may be taken as, well, an insult.
“Vos boucles d’oreilles sont parfaitement en accord avec le reste de votre tenue. J’adore !” - “Your earrings perfectly match the rest of your outfit. I love it!” Remember, French people love for their outfit to be perfect top down, so this is a good compliment to give.
“Cette combinaison te va à merveille ! - “This jumpsuit fits you marvelously!” ‘A merveille’ is a very sweet compliment to give to someone. Although used less frequently than other positive adjectives, it is definitely a good one to know.
“Chaque fois que je te vois je suis impressionée par ton style !”” - “Every time I see you I am amazed by your style!” This is a personal compliment which shows you really take the time to notice what the person is wearing. It is sweet because it not only refers to their clothing style, but also to your consideration of them.
Sure, complimenting beauty and style is always nice, but appearance isn’t everything. For a more personal touch, learning how to compliment someone’s personality is a great way to deepen a relationship.
“Tu es vraiment trop drôle !” - “You really are too funny!” When ‘trop’ (too much) is used in this way, it is a strong compliment, rather than an insult.
“Tu es très sympathique.” - “You are very kind.” ‘Sympathique’ isn’t the easiest term to translate, as it is a synthesis of ‘kind’ and ‘friendly.’ The shortened version is ‘sympa,’ another common French term.
“J’aime beaucoup passer du temps avec toi.” - “I really enjoy spending time with you.” This may not be a compliment about a particular feature, but it is a very sweet, general compliment to give. (Here are more phrases for making friends in French)
“Tu es très intelligent.” - “You are very smart.” For the feminine version, you would say “Tu es très inteligente.” Who doesn’t love to be told they are smart?
“Vous êtes très gentil.” - “You are very nice.” This is not a very natural compliment to give, but it works. It may come off as patronizing in certain contexts, however.
“Vous avez beaucoup de talent.” - “You are very talented.” Of course, this would be used in reference to something particular, say if the person were showing you their ‘peintures’ (paintings).
“Vous avez beaucoup de charme.” - “You are very charming.” This definitely has some romantic connotations to it, but hey, if that’s the case, feel free to compliment someone on their charm, it is quite charming.
“Ton sens de l’humour est génial." - “Your sense of humor is awesome.” When learning a new language, understanding the humor of another culture is one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. If you like someone’s humor, you should tell them!
“Je me sens moi-même quand je suis avec toi.” - “I feel like myself when I am around you.” As language learners, we know what it is like to feel incapable of expressing ourselves properly and feeling understood. This is a very sweet and gentle compliment to let someone know they make you feel comfortable.
“Je n’ai jamais rencontré quelqu’un d’aussi originale que toi.” - “I have never met someone as unique as you.” Of course, you want to be on good footing with someone before saying this, or it may come off as an insult.
“J'apprécie beaucoup ta perspective sur la vie.” - “I really appreciate your perspective on life.” As in English, this is a very personal and deep compliment to give to someone.
“Tu es vraiment incroyable.” - “You are truly incredible.” This is a very special and intense compliment. It is definitely not something to say lightly!
“J’ai beaucoup de chance de t’avoir dans ma vie.” - “I am very lucky to have you in my life.” Also an intense compliment, but it is truly a good indicator that you deeply care about someone.
“Vous êtes sincèrement un rayon de soleil.” - “You are honestly a ray of sunshine.” ‘Sincerement’ in French translates literally to ‘sincerely,’ but it better resembles the English usage of ‘honestly.’
“Tu as un très bon goût musical." - “You have very good taste in music.” ‘Goût’ means taste in general, so you can apply this to anything, such as taste in clothing or in art.
“Vous avez toujours les meilleures idées !” - “You always have the best ideas!” This is a great way to show your appreciation for someone’s creativity and thoughts.
“Merci d'être là pour moi.” - “Thank you for being there for me.” This is a good compliment to know in any language, especially if you are living through difficult times and want to communicate your appreciation of someone’s support.
This is just a short list of the infinite amount of combinations available when looking to compliment someone. It is worth taking the time to invest in learning these compliments so you are ready to deepen any relationship you might find yourself in when traveling in France.
Bonne chance !
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