Praise x Compliment [as verbs]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Xavier da Silva, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. Hello everyone,


    What would be the difference between "to praise" and "to compliment" when the meaning intended is "to say something nice to someone when they do things in a way you approve of.'' ?

    Context:

    I praised him for his dedication and honesty. He's a great person and worker.

    Vs

    I complimented him for his dedication and honesty. He's a great person and worker.


    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. morior_invictus

    morior_invictus Senior Member

    Slovak
    To my mind, "to praise" someone is to express a higher level of a compliment. It gives someone a deeper feeling that they are worthwhile or loved than a compliment does. There is also a higher chance of compliment being hypocritical (e.g. when a man compliments woman on something in order to get a desired reaction). Praise is in most cases without hypocrisy.

    I praised him for his dedication and honesty. He's a great person and worker.

    Vs

    I complimented him on his dedication and honesty. He's a great person and worker.

    From your two examples, No. 1 is better, in my opinion. Others may disagree and consider them pretty much interchangeable.
     
  3. Thank you for your answer.


    I think this comment might be the best answer. But let's wait for more opinions.
     
  4. e2efour

    e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 76)
    UK English
    If you see someone looking very smart, you would compliment them on their appearance.
    To praise them would be going over the top rather. In order to be praised, you should also deserve it, at least in the view of the person praising you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  5. Thank you very much.

    So, Morior's answer makes perfect sense.

     
  6. Linkway Senior Member

    British English
    When you compliment someone you may be being merely courteous whereas to praise them is really extolling their virtue and/or achievment.

    Another difference is that when you compliment someone it is generally directed at the other person, whereas when you praise someone it could be said to a third party.

    Jack complimented Mary - we take it for granted that Jack was talking to Mary.

    Jack praised Mary - it could be that Jack was telling someone else about Mary.

    I don't mean this as a 'rule', just a comment on typical usage.
     

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