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Nov 11, 2017

Did you know you can say "congratulations on" or "congratulations for"? See when and why

If you are among those who are interested in learning correct English grammar, you must have come across different English articles proposing that you don't say "congratulations for" but "congratulations on". I could remember supporting such claim in one my articles, titled, the DOs and DONT's for great English presentation. But, it seems language has once again proven to be dynamic. In other words, the long-time claim that "congratulations" only collocates with "on", no longer holds water as all modern English dictionaries and usage guides now say "congratulations" collocates with both "on" and "for" depending on the meaning you want to convey. This is indeed a validation of the authenticity of the popular biblical axiom, "...old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Having said that, when is it proper to use either of these expressions?
Did you know you can say "congratulations on" or "congratulations for"? See when and why

WHEN AND HOW TO USE "CONGRATULATIONS ON" AND "CONGRATULATIONS FOR"?

You use "congratulations on" when you want to send good wishes or expressions of joy to someone on the occasion of an important event in the life of that person. It could be marriage, convocation, birthday, promotion at work, birth of a child etc.
Examples
  • Congratulations on your marriage!
  • Congratulations on your convocation!

On the other hand, you use "congratulations for" when you want to acknowledge an achievement or praise someone for a great effort.
Examples
  • Congratulations for paying workers’ salaries promptly!
  • Congratulations for leading the children to safety!

"Congratulations" can also be used with the preposition "to" when it is offered to someone. In this case, the verb, "offered", immediately precedes the word, "congratulations".
Example
  • The CEO of Tammys English Blog offered congratulations to all his blog readers.
Lest I forget, it is important to state that "congratulations" can be used by itself. This is a very common practice as people always use "congratulations" without attaching any of the aforementioned prepositions to it, e.g., "congratulations!"

In sum, the use of "congratulations for" or "congratulations on" solely depends on the context or the meaning the speaker wants to convey. There is nothing wrong with saying "congratulations for" if used in the right context.


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