'Congratulations For' or 'Congratulations On': Which is Correct?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on February 27, 2023

Are you wondering whether to say ‘congratulations for’ or ‘congratulations on’? And are you wondering which one is correct? We’ll answer that in this article, plus teach you how to use the correct phrase in a sentence.

Need a quick answer? Here it is:

  • ‘Congratulations for’ is used for someone’s achievement.
  • ‘Congratulations on’ is used for good wishes in the context of a happy event.

In some cases, you can use the phrases interchangeably. The most common of the two phrases is ‘congratulations on.’

‘Congratulations on’ or For?

So, should you tell someone ‘congratulations on’ their engagement or for their engagement?

The former makes the most sense.

It sounds a little awkward to say ‘congratulations for’ your engagement.

Saying ‘on’ makes more sense and is grammatical.

Congratulations On, Congratulations For, Congratulations To

We know that ‘congratulations on’ is the most acceptable way to express this sentiment.

However, we learned that ‘congratulations for’ isn’t really correct, although some people try to use it anyway.

But what about ‘congratulations to’? Well, in some cases, it might be acceptable.

For example, you might say to someone:

“Congratulations to you on your promotion! You deserve it!”

Or, you might say:

“Congratulations to the senior class of 2023!”

Therefore, it’s okay to say ‘congratulations for’ and ‘congratulations to.’

While ‘congratulations for’ isn’t as widely used, you might still hear people say, ‘congratulations for getting an A!” or something similar.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Congratulations For’ and ‘Congratulations On’

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of congratulations is:

  • A congratulatory expression or the act of congratulating.

Essentially, you tell someone congratulations whenever they’ve achieved something, such as graduating high school or college, getting engaged or married, or getting a promotion at work.

You might also congratulate someone on the birth of their baby or after a pregnancy announcement.

After Ben’s baby is born in the movie Knocked Up, one of his friends says:

“Congratulations, Daddy! We got a beautiful little girl!” after he announced the birth.

Congratulations are a great way to show someone you’re proud of them or their achievements. It shows support for a friend or family member.

But it could also be used sarcastically. In that case, it would have an opposite meaning, meaning you have nothing to be proud of, or you should be ashamed of yourself.

In Role Models, Danny tells the barista that their coffees are labeled wrong and then says:

“Congratulations! You’re stupid in three languages.”

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Congratulations On’

Do you need help pronouncing this phrase? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce this phrase correctly here’s the phonetic spelling: kuhn-GRACH-uu-LAY-shuhns

How to Use ‘Congratulations On’ in a Sentence

Now that you know how to pronounce the phrase and what it means, let’s see some examples of how to use it in a sentence.

Congratulations On

  • Hey Sonya, congratulations on your engagement. I know you and Tony will be so happy.
  • Congratulations on your acquisition of that new organization. You must be so excited!
  • Congratulations on your new job! Did you get paid yet?
  • I’m not going to say congratulations on your new house yet. I’ll wait until you finally close.

Congratulations For

  • We haven’t even told Jerry congratulations on getting promoted. I’m really proud of him.
  • Does anyone know where Phil is? I want to tell him congratulations on getting the most sales this quarter.
  • We told my auntie congratulations on getting engaged to a millionaire. She’s so lucky!
  • I want us all to tell Kristen congratulations for closing on that property last week. No one’s been able to move that property for years.

Concluding Advice on ‘Congratulations For’ and ‘Congratulations On’

To recap, we learned that:

  • ‘Congratulations for’ is typically used to express pride in someone’s achievement.
  • ‘Congratulations on’ expresses good wishes at a happy event like a baby shower.

In some cases, you can use the phrases interchangeably. However, the most common of the two phrases is ‘congratulations on.’

If you ever need help with something, you can always come back to review what you learned. We’ve got a ton of content on confusing words and phrases you might want to check out while learning the language. Go browse and see what you find.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.