How to Congratulate Someone in English and Actually Mean It

Something great has happened to a friend of yours. Maybe they won a contest, are getting married, or landed a new job.

Whatever the case, you want to congratulate them. But the problem is, they only speak English, and the only English phrase you can think of is “Congratulations!”

So whether you’re writing a message or saying it in person, here are some popular English phrases that will make your congratulations as heart-felt as possible!

Need help writing a message or just want to improve your English in general? Reach out to one of our tutors. We have thousands of tutors who can help you 24/7 and your first 25 minutes are free! 

Congratulations

First, let’s start out with the basics.

Congrats on …

People usually shorten the word “congratulations” to “congrats” unless they are writing a formal message or making a speech.

  • Congrats on the new job!
  • Congrats on your wedding.

You can also use “congrats” with verbs in the -ing form. For example:

  • Congrats on landing a new job!
  • Congrats on getting married!

Happy …

This is another casual way to congratulate someone on something.

  • Happy wedding! Congrats on tying the knot!
  • Happy graduation! Now go rock it in the “real world”!

Just keep in mind that “Happy” is only used with specific days and events, so you can’t use it to congratulate people for everything. For example, “Happy new job” wouldn’t make sense, but you could say “Happy first day at your new job!”

You did it!

“You did it” means that you were successful at something. 

  • Happy graduation! You did it!
  • Congrats on winning the competition! You did it!

You deserve it!

“You deserve it” means that someone deserves their success, because they worked hard for it.

  • Congrats on making your school’s football team! You deserve it!
  • Congrats on passing the audition! You deserve it!

Express Happiness

When you’re congratulating someone, you’re usually happy about what happened to them. So here are some ways to express this in English!

I’m so happy/excited/proud …

  • Congrats on getting promoted! I’m so happy for you.
  • Congrats on the baby! I’m so happy for the two of you.
  • Congrats on graduation. I’m so proud of you.
  • Congratulations on your new job!  I’m excited for you.

Happy to hear/see that ….

  • Congrats on landing your first job! Happy to see that you’re moving up in the world!
  • Congrats on surviving your first winter in Alaska! I’m glad to hear that you enjoy your life there.

I love that …

  • Congrats on the success of your book! I love that you’re slowly but steadily achieving your dream of becoming a writer.
  • Congrats on the baby and the new home! I love that you’re starting a family like you always wanted to.

It must feel …

  • Congrats on the win! It must feel like you’re on top of the world!
  • Congrats on getting into your top-choice university! It must feel amazing!

Wish them well for the future

When congratulating someone, it’s common to hope that more good things happen to them! Here are some ways you can do this.

Good luck!

  • Congrats on finishing your first marathon and good luck preparing for future ones!
  • Congrats on becoming grandparents and good luck not spoiling the grandkids!

You’re going to do great.

“You’re going to do great” is a more casual way to say “you’re going to do well.”

  • Congrats on the new job! You’re going to do great.
  • Congrats on getting into university. You’re going to do great!

You’re going to be a great …

  • Congrats on the baby! You’re going to be a great parent.
  • Congrats on graduating from your education program. I just know you’re going to be an awesome teacher!

Sample Messages

Below are some samples you may find useful. For practice, find the phrases we introduced in the samples below. Then try writing some of your own messages. If you need anyone to check them, remember that our tutors are here for you and your first 25 minutes are free!

Text Messages

#1 

Hey Renuka and Adam, Just saw that Joe turned one! Happy birthday to him and congrats to the two of you for surviving your first year of parenthood! xoxo

#2

I heard from Mike that you won an award for your movie! I’m so proud of you and I love that you’re achieving your dream of becoming a film director! Anyways, congrats on the prize and good luck with your future movies! (PS – let me know if you need any extras! jk)

Card Messages

#1 

Dear Alastair, 

I just wanted to congratulate you on getting into Oxford! It must feel nice to get into your dream school. You deserve it and I know you’ll do great there! Love, Aunt Jennifer

#2

Brian, 

Congratulations on your promotion to regional manager! I’ve enjoyed seeing you grow the past few years and am delighted to see that your efforts and achievements are being recognized! I am sure that you’ll do great in your new role.

Sincerely,
Krishna