What is the right usage of the verb "congratulate"?



I was wondering what is the right way of formulating a sentence in which I want to express my respect/consideration to another person. In particular using the verb congratulate.

Which one of the following is right?

  1. I would like to congratulate you for this thing
  2. I would like to congratulate with you for this thing

And what is the difference in the 'moods' if I use I should like to or I want to instead of I would like?


Posted 2013-05-12T10:59:37.400

Reputation: 133


Welcome to ELU. There is no substantial difference in this context between should like, would like, and want to. Your first question is readily answered with a good dictionary, such as the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary; if that leaves you in any doubt, you may click on the edit link above to revise your question, citing what you find in the dictionary and addressing more specific issues.

– StoneyB on hiatus – 2013-05-12T11:21:53.313

possible duplicate of "For" versus "on" in the given sentence

– FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2013-05-12T16:41:05.037

1@FumbleFingers As this question has now come up in the review queue, please help me understand; how is the question a duplicate? As far as I can see, though they both refer to "congratulations", the other question seeks to differentiate between "for" and "on", while this question wants to know if "with" is necessary before "you". Or am I misinterpreting something? Thanks in advance! – WendiKidd – 2013-05-13T03:08:21.450

@WendiKidd I have the same question. I don't think this is at all a duplicate. – Ken Bellows – 2013-05-13T12:07:18.307

@WendiKidd, KenB: The standard prepositions used after congratulate/congratulations are "on" and "for", as set out in answers to the original question. This one meaninglessly introduces the totally non-standard possibility of using "with". Would you accept several new, separate questions asking whether you can *congratulate by, to, at, with, along, from,* etc.? I see no point in that, nor do I see that this question deserves to remain open simply because it also happens to ask a supplementary question about "I should/would like to XXX"? – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2013-05-13T15:30:09.773



I would like to congratulate you for winning the race, for example, is correct, but

I would like to congratulate with you for winning the race is incorrect, ungrammatical English.

StoneyB's comment about there being no substantial difference "in this context between should like, would like, and want to" is right on.

I would add to his comment that in most cases, they are just verbosities. They can be deleted. Especially in acknowledgments in which people say "I would like to thank Mr X for his invaluable advice". Just say "I thank Mr X for his invaluable advice". Likewise, just say "I congratulate you for winning the race", unless you want to add something like "but I don't know how. Please tell me how I can appropriately congratulate you in a way that you will remember for the rest of your life." Then you can introduce the sentence with "I would like to congratulate you" and mean it.


Posted 2013-05-12T10:59:37.400



"With" is a preposition. There's really no reason to add a preposition between "congratulate" and the subject, ever, in English:

I congratulate to you. I congratulate by you. I congratulate with you, above you, beside you, etc.

You get the idea. While not entirely grammatically incorrect, it just doesn't sound right, here, because we don't usually say where we are right after the action of "congratulate" and before the subject. If the location is relevant, it is put into the rest of the sentence:

I congratulated him from the audience, giving my applause as he took the stage.

I did say it is not entirely grammatically incorrect because there are instances when a verb might be followed by a preposition, then subject:

I ran by you, fast as lightning. I looked above you and saw lightning in the sky.

So it is all about the verb and what you can actually, physically, directionally, do while using it. Can you congratulate with someone? Sure, you can go to their celebration party, and they might say:

Thank you for congratulating with us at our party.

But they would never say

Thank you for congratulate with us at our party.

The verb tense is wrong - you were doing an ongoing act at the party, that is beyond a simple one second interaction. Just like you would not say

I eat with you.

But you might say

I am eating with you.

I know this is using another language to help you understand English, but this is similar to the difference between when you would use the preterite (past) and the imperfect tenses in Spanish:

Generally speaking, the preterite is used for actions in the past that are seen as completed. Use of the preterite tense implies that the past action had a definite beginning and definite end.

Juan habló de la una hasta las dos.

Generally speaking, the imperfect is used for actions in the past that are not seen as completed EDIT: or are ongoing. Use of the imperfect tense implies that the past action did not have a definite beginning or a definite end.

La chica hablaba en inglés.

Source: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/pretimp1.htm


Posted 2013-05-12T10:59:37.400

Reputation: 163


I think the most frequent verb construction is "to congratulate someone on something".


Posted 2013-05-12T10:59:37.400

Reputation: 8 304