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The 20+ Most Useful Compliments in Cantonese

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Being a HongKonger myself, I would say that Hong Kong has nurtured many very beautiful citizens—both in mind and body. To praise us (don’t be shy!), here are twenty of the most useful Cantonese compliments that you can use. And the next time you want to compliment a Cantonese girl, you’ll know very well what to say!

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Table of Contents

  1. Compliments on Looks
  2. Compliments on Work
  3. Compliments on Skills
  4. Compliments on Character / Disposition
  5. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere
  6. What to Expect After Giving Compliments
  7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Compliments on Looks

A Pretty Lady

1 – 你好靚

Meaning: “You’re very beautiful.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to compliment a lady for her appearance, you can say this phrase.

2 – 你好靚仔

Meaning: “You’re very handsome.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 leng3 zai2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to praise a man for his appearance, you can say this compliment in Cantonese.

3 – 你笑得好靚

Meaning: “Your smile is beautiful.”
Romanization: nei5 siu3 dak1 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When a lady is smiling, you can compliment her with this phrase.

4 – 呢件外套好襯你

Meaning: “This jacket looks nice on you.”
Romanization: ni1 gin6 ngoi6 tou3 hou2 can3 nei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to start a conversation with a lady, but don’t want to be too forward, you can use this phrase.

5 – 件衫好襯你

Meaning: “This shirt looks nice on you.”
Romanization: gin6 saam1 hou2 can3 nei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to start a conversation with a man, but don’t want to be too forward, you can use this phrase.

Check out this list of Compliments You Always Want to Hear for more Cantonese compliments you can use!

2. Compliments on Work

Compliments

6 – 你好叻

Meaning: “You’re smart.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 lek1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone brings up a great idea or solves a problem, you may say this phrase.

7 – 做得好

Meaning: “Great job.”
Romanization: zou6 dak1 hou2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone completes a task perfectly, you can praise him or her with this phrase.

8 – 你嘅履歷好出色

Meaning: “Your resume is impressive.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 lei5 lik6 hou2 ceot1 sik1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your friend sends you her resume and it’s well-written, you can say this phrase.

9 – 你嘅表現超乎我意料之外

Meaning: “You’ve exceeded my expectations.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 biu2 jin6 ciu1 fu4 ngo5 ji3 liu6 zi1 ngoi6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone manages a difficult project well, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

10 – 你好勁

Meaning: “You’re awesome.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 ging6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone solves a difficult problem for you, you may reply with this phrase.

Do you need more vocabulary for the workplace or talking about your job? CantoneseClass101 has you covered!

3. Compliments on Skills

A Man Seasoning His Dish

11 – 我鍾意你煮嘅嘢食

Meaning: “I love your cooking.”
Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 nei5 zyu2 ge3 je5 sik6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your special someone cooks for you, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

12 – 你好有品味

Meaning: “You have good taste.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 jau5 ban2 mei6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone shares a great bottle of wine with you, you may compliment him or her with this phrase.

13 – 你好識得講嘢

Meaning: “You have a way with words.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 sik1 dak1 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: After someone offers you a compliment in Cantonese, you may praise him or her back with this phrase.

14 – 你係一個好出色嘅廚師

Meaning: “You’re an excellent cook.”
Romanization: nei5 hai6 jat1 go3 hou2 ceot1 sik1 ge3 cyu4 si1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: You may compliment your cook after an excellent dinner using this Cantonese compliment.

15 – 你影相影得好靚

Meaning: “You are good at taking pictures.”
Romanization: nei5 jing2 soeng2 jing2 dak1 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone shows you photos that they’ve taken, you may say this phrase.

If you need some ideas on what to compliment someone on, CantoneseClass101 has a vocabulary list for hobbies, and another one for common adjectives.

4. Compliments on Character / Disposition

Positive Feelings

16 – 你嘅內在美仲靚過你嘅外在美

Meaning: “Your inside is even more beautiful than your outside.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 noi6 zoi6 mei5 zung6 leng3 gwo3 nei5 ge3 ngoi6 zoi6 mei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone does a good deed, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

17 – 你令我想成為一個更加好嘅人

Meaning: “You make me want to be a better person.”
Romanization: nei5 ling6 ngo5 soeng2 sing4 wai4 jat1 go3 gang3 gaa1 hou2 ge3 jan4
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you’re madly in love with your special someone, you may say this phrase.

18 – 你係一個好好嘅朋友

Meaning: “You are an awesome friend.”
Romanization: nei5 hai6 jat1 go3 hou2 hou2 ge3 pang4 jau5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your friend accompanies you when you’re down, you can show your appreciation with this compliment.

19 – 你好搞笑

Meaning: “You have a great sense of humor.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 gaau2 siu3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone tells a joke that cracks you up, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

20 – 你好好人

Meaning: “You’re really nice.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 hou2 jan4
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone goes out of his or her way to help you, you may say this to them.

Do you want more vocabulary to enhance your compliments in Cantonese? CantoneseClass101 has a vocabulary list for Cantonese adjectives related to personality, and another to help you talk about feelings!

5. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere

A Man Vowing

Giving compliments is easy—but making them sound genuine takes some effort. Make sure you follow these four rules when you give a compliment!

1. Be Authentic

The most straightforward way to make a compliment sound sincere is to actually be sincere. Before you make a comment or throw out a word of praise, be sure that you’re doing so because it’s truly deserved—not just out of politeness. Imagine how you would feel if someone praised you for things you didn’t do! That’s not gonna be a plus, but a minus!

2. Be Specific

Vague and open-ended compliments can sometimes be undesirable and difficult for the recipient to respond to.

Instead of just saying “You’re awesome,” you can back the compliment with concrete examples and specify which action he or she did that deserves such a compliment. For example: “We’ve been solving this issue for an hour already, but it only took you ten minutes. You’re awesome!”

3. Be Relevant

Timing is essential when it comes to giving out compliments. You can compliment your partner for being a great cook after he or she cooks you a meal, but it may sound a bit awkward if you give such a compliment when you two are cycling.

Context can make a whole lot of difference. Do consider time and place before giving your compliment.

4. Be Concise

When complimenting someone, it’s best to keep your compliment short. Why? If you keep dragging your compliment on, you risk attracting unnecessary attention from others, making your recipient uncomfortable. You may make him or her wonder why you would give such a compliment in the first place!

6. What to Expect After Giving Compliments

A Lady Bowing

What can you expect from a HongKonger after complimenting them? Different people may respond differently, but you can usually expect one of three reactions:

  • “Thank you.”: Saying 多謝 (do1 ze6), or “thank you” in Cantonese, is the most common response after receiving a compliment.
  • “Nah.”: Some people may say 邊度係呢 (bin1 dou6 hai6 ne1) or 唔敢當 (m4 gam2 dong1) to brush off compliments.
  • “Run!”: A few may just get uncomfortable and shy away from compliments altogether.

7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

What’s your favorite Cantonese compliment? Share with us in the comments, or let us know if there’s another compliment you want to learn!

After mastering Cantonese compliments, it’s time to level up your Cantonese! With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

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Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

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