Compliments in Spanish

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Compliments can do wonders in relationships when you give them at the appropriate time and use the correct language. This lesson gives you the guidance to give compliments taking into account the culture that surrounds Spanish speaking countries.

Make Someone's Day in Spanish

Imagine you have been getting acquainted with lots of Spanish speakers who are very kind to you. Sometimes they give you a compliment, and you don't know exactly what they mean. Other times, you probably don't know what to say in response to these compliments. Moreover, you know that giving compliments to others can mean a lot to them. Now, let's build up that fluency and learn the most socially acceptable compliments in Spanish.

Complimenting Looks

It is not uncommon in the Spanish speaking world to hear people complimenting others' looks. Pay close attention, and read between the lines to notice if flirting is the real motive for a compliment. If you do not feel comfortable when someone compliments your looks, a dry Gracias ('thank you,' pronounced: grah-seeahs) will do. Otherwise, say the same word with a smile that says you are flattered. Or, you can also say Gracias por el cumplido ('Thanks for the compliment,' pronounced: grah-seeahs pohr ehl koom-plee-doh).

Here are some common ways to compliment someone's looks:

For Girls

  • ¡Qué guapa! ('How pretty!' pronounced: keh gooah-pah)

Variants of this compliment are:

  • ¡Qué bonita! (pronounced: keh boh-nee-tah)
  • ¡Qué linda! (pronounced: keh leen-dah)
  • ¡Te ves guapa! ('You look pretty!' pronounced: teh behs gooah-pah)

For Guys

  • ¡Qué guapo! ('How handsome!' pronounced: keh gooah-poh)

Either Gender

When complimenting the way someone -male or female- looks dressed up:

  • ¡Qué elegante! ('How elegant!' pronounced: keh eh-leh-gahn-teh)
  • Luces bien ('You look great!' pronounced: loo-sehs bee-ehn)

Luces bien

Additionally, if you want to tell a couple how nice they are together, you say:

¡Qué linda pareja! (pronounced: keh leen-dah pah-reh-hah)

Or you could refer to someone's jacket, tie, blouse, etc. by saying:

  • ¡Qué linda _______! ('what a nice...') the blank is for the clothing piece you want to note as being 'nice.' Examples of clothing pieces include but are not limited to:
  • chaqueta ('jacket,' pronounced: chah-keh-tah)
  • corbata ('tie,' pronounced: kohr-bah-tah)
  • blusa ('blouse,' pronounced: bloo-sah)
  • camiseta ('t-shirt,' pronounced: kah-mee-seh-tah)

Use the same formula to compliment something a person owns, but note that if the noun is masculine, such as (coche, which means 'car'), you must say lindo instead of linda. You can compliment pets with this formula as well.

Complimenting Behavior or Personality Traits

When someone in a service position is particularly kind, you can compliment them by saying:

Gracias. Muy amable. ('Thank you. You're very kind.' Pronounced: grah-seeahs mooy ah-mah-bleh)

When you want to compliment an aspect of someone's personality, you say the phrase Eres muy _______ ('You are very...' pronounced: eh-rehs mooy). The blank is for the personality trait you want to compliment. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • responsable ('responsible,' pronounced: rehs-pohn-sah-bleh)
  • servicial ('helpful,' pronounced: sehr-bee-seeahl)
  • inteligente ('smart,' pronounced: een-teh-lee-hen-teh)
  • organizado for males and organizada for females ('organized,' pronounced: ohr-gah-nee-sah-doh /dah)

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