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"Did you get a haircut? It looks good!" "Nice shoes! Where did you get them?" "I like the direction you are going with the project." All of these examples of compliments may or may not be appropriate given the context, the people with whom we are speaking, our tone of voice, level of eye contact, etc. EAL learners benefit a great deal from learning the unwritten rules of how to use language appropriately so as not to offend anyone or potentially harm important relationships. Compliments can be especially complicated.
As a way to begin a class discussion about compliments, it can be helpful to have learners complete a scenario that elicits the language they might use to give a compliment.
We asked staff and students at NorQuest college what they would say in one common 'compliment' scenario.
Imagine the following scenario:
You work in a large company.
During break time, in the lunchroom, you notice one of your coworkers has a new pair of shoes.
She is not someone that you see regularly but you sometimes have coffee together on breaks.
You don’t really know each other that well.
You want to tell her that you like her shoes.
What do you say?
A: I like your shoes. They’re pretty.
B: Oh, thank you.
A: You’re welcome.
A: Uh, hey I’m Tyler, I just wanted to come up and mention that I really like your shoes.
A: Hi. I know that you really don’t know me and uh we don’t see each other very often but I noticed you and just want to tell you how much I really love your shoes.
A: Hi Betty. I just walking through here and you know, my wife’s been looking at shoes and all the new styles of boots out there and everything like that and I hope you don’t think I’m just overstepping my bounds here but those are beautiful shoes. They really stand out and they look great on you. Can you tell me what kind of style they are or where you’d look for something like that? Or, you’ve met my wife, do you think she’s look good in a pair of boots like that? But I really think they’re great boots (laughs).
A: Hi Erin. I really like your shoes those are really nice! Where did you get them?
A: Hi Marion. Wow! Love your shoes.