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English to English translations [PRO] General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
English term or phrase:congratulations for or on
I´d like to know if it´s correct to say congratulations for being promoted or you can only use congratulations on? Which is the difference in use?I always thought you could only use on but I came across some e-cards that use "Congrats for your new car!"
Explanation: "Congrats for your new car" sounds like it is a message of congratulations to be conveyed to the car, rather directly congratulating its owner. I don't have any objections to shortening "congratulations" to "congrats" in an informal email message and it is not unusual to use the shortened form in informal speech. In British English it is definitely "on" and not "for" because it is an expression of pleasure on the occasion of an achievement or event. Contrast it with the expression "I am pleased for you" or even "I am delighted for you", which both seem to be saying the same thing but mean that the event or accomplishment doesn't give me pleasure in itself, but I know it is good for you so I am pleased/delighted for your sake.
-------------------------------------------------- Note added at 14 hrs (2011-04-18 08:49:24 GMT) --------------------------------------------------
Oops, just noticed that I omitted a "than" above; i.e. "rather than directly congratulating its owner ...".
I have argued that the +noun, +verb analysis is wrong. It is very tempting when learning a language to look for simple rules where the rules are actually more complex. "Congratulations for getting such a good result in the exam" sounds very odd to me. "Congratulations on getting such a good exam result" sounds far more natural.
on+noun / for + verb means you could say Congratulations for getting such a good result in the exam instead of Congratulations on getting ... . Is this OK, can you use both if it´s a verb that follows?
Congratulations for getting my car out of a ditch - because gratitude is being expressed; "for" precedes the reason for the gratitude. (Though, just plain thank you might be better.) Congratulations on getting your car out of a ditch.
As B D Finch suggests, using "for" is complex. I cannot think of any use of the preposition "for" in the noun construction "congratulations for". In fact, I would say it is plain wrong. "for", as far as I know is only used in contructions with the verb, "to congratulate for" + gerund (normally)/ + noun (sometimes odd-sounding). BD's sentence "They are to be congratulated for providing a service..." is the normal construction. I posted bit showing verb usage: so that the asker can see how "for" is used (and where the error "congratulations for" might have originated).
The word being asked about is the noun "congratulations", not the verb "to congratulate", which takes a wider variety of pronouns. In the example "the operators are to be congratulated for the service..." (NB "service" is a noun, which contradicts MedTrans...'s explanation), I suspect that the reason for the use of "for" is rather more complex. The writer is addressing a third party and giving a reason why the operators should be congratulated. They are to be congratulated for providing a service to others, not on achieving something for themselves.
*give (someone) one's good wishes when something special or pleasant has happened to them:
he had taken the chance to congratulate him on his marriage *praise (someone) for an achievement:
the operators are to be congratulated for the service that they provide *(congratulate oneself) feel pride or satisfaction:
she congratulated herself on her powers of deduction
I suppose "good" or "bad" are judgments to be made in context. What I meant is that "congrats" was not really a word. (please no rebuttals citing Merriam-Webster). That people use it all the time is not compelling. Certainly "congrats for" carries with it a different tone than "congratulations on".