We Italians are cheerful people, and we give a lot of significance to celebrations. We like finding a way to celebrate accomplishments and special occasions, no matter how big or small they are.
So, how do you say “congratulations” in Italian?
This is a great question with several responses. Consider how many expressions there are to congratulate someone in English: “best wishes”, “good for you”, “well done”.
And, just as in English, the appropriate Italian congratulation words vary depending on the situation.
Basic ways to say Congratulations! in Italian
To begin, we’ll go through a few well-known expressions to say congrats in Italian.
Congratulazioni is the most literal translation of “congratulations” in Italian.
With it, you get sentences such as le mie congratulazioni (“my congratulations”) or le mie più sincere congratulazioni (“my most sincere congratulations”).
Congratulazioni is viewed more as a formal expression to convey congratulations on a special occasion.
Congratulazioni per la tua laurea!
Congratulation on your graduation!
Congratulazioni per il vostro matrimonio!
Congratulations on your wedding!
It’s worth mentioning that congratulazioni is used more frequently in written language than in everyday conversation. However, if you wish to compliment someone more officially, congratulazioni is an appropriate option.
Complimenti! (well done!) is the most popular expression of praise in Italian.
It directly translates to “compliments” and lets you recognize what the other speaker has accomplished.
Because complimenti is such a dynamic saying, you can use it to congratulate someone on anything from a marriage to a promotion at work.
Additionally, complimenti is used by Italians to express gratitude to the other person.
Whether you’re praising your friend’s new outfit or their Italian speaking abilities, you can use complimenti to let them know that their efforts didn’t go unappreciated.
Complimenti, questo piatto che hai cucinato è buonissimo!
Wow, this dish you cooked is very good!
Complimenti, suoni il piano molto bene!
Nice job, you play the piano very well!
While congratulazioni is formal and reserved for special occasions, complimenti is more casual. And even if congratulazioni is mostly sincere, complimenti can sometimes be ironic.
Complimenti, ti sei fatto prendere in giro.
Congratulations, you have been fooled.
Hai perso una partita facile, complimenti.
You’ve lost an easy match, congratulations.
However, if you mean good, don’t be afraid to use it! It’s one of the most common Italian congratulation phrases.
No matter how well you know the Italian language, you’re likely familiar with the common quote “bravo/a”.
This word is even more flexible than complimenti and can be used in a variety of contexts.
In Italian, when someone is good at doing something, we say they’re bravo (masculine) or brava (feminine).
The adjective bravo/a does not have a literal English translation, however, it is typically used to mean “well done“.
Hai passato l’esame, brava!
Congratulations on passing the exam!
Bravo, sei riuscito a risolvere il problema!
Wow, you solved the problem! Congratulations!
In Italian, ottimo lavoro (“great work”) is another way of saying “well done” or “good job.” That’s what you could say to someone who has done a good job on an assignment.
Avete trovato il pezzo mancante del puzzle. Ottimo lavoro.
You’ve found the jigsaw puzzle’s missing component.. Well done.
Congratulations in Italian: best wishes for the future
New beginnings are the perfect time to send someone your best wishes in Italian.
Here are some special phrases to use when congratulating someone on the start of a new chapter in their life.
Tanta felicità/ Felicitazioni!
Tanta felicità (literally, a lot of happiness) and felicitazioni! are phrases that can be applied to a variety of situations.
Whether you’re attending a wedding or a graduation ceremony, you can use them to let the friend know you wish them plenty of happiness in their future.
It’ll undoubtedly help to brighten everyone’s spirits at the occasion.
Cento di questi giorni!
This sentence, which means “a hundred of these days,” is viewed as the Italian equivalent of “many happy returns.”
Saying this to someone who is beginning a new chapter in their life shows your hope for them to have many more days filled with happiness and good luck.
Auguri! (well wishes) can be heard all around Italy on a range of happy occasions. The most prevalent use of this word is to express one’s best wishes.
While it isn’t a direct translation for “congratulations,” it is a wonderful way to recognize and appreciate joyful events in others’ lives.
How to say “congratulations” on specific situations
Engagements and weddings
You can simply say congratulazioni! or felicitazioni! to express your congratulations on someone’s engagement.
Or you might want to use the full sentence: Congratulazioni per il tuo fidanzamento.
(Use the plural phrase: Congratulazioni per il vostro fidanzamento if you’re addressing the pair.)
Like we saw earlier, congratulazioni is the commonly used word to congratulate someone on their wedding.
However, there are a few other ways to express your warmest greetings on this important day.
Over a brindisi (“toast”), the group of guests will usually shout viva gli sposi! (“long live the spouses”) or evviva! (“hurray” or “cheers”). They’ll say cin cin as they clink their glasses.
In a wedding message, maybe on a card, you can consider writing tante belle cose! (“many beautiful things”). It’s an abbreviation of ti/vi auguro tante belle cose, which means “I wish you many wonderful things.”
The arrival of a baby
If you know someone who is expecting a baby, you’ll need some phrases to congratulate them.
Here are some phrases you might wish to say to new or expecting parents:
Congratulazioni/Felicitazioni/Auguri per la tua gravidanza.
Congratulations on your pregnancy.
Congratulazioni/Felicitazioni/Auguri per la dolce attesa.
Congratulations on the sweet expectation.
Congratulazioni/Felicitazioni/per la nascita.
Congratulations on the birth.
How to reply to congratulations in Italian?
There’s one more thing you should know about congratulations in Italian: how to reply to them.
When someone compliments you or wishes you well, it is polite to say thank you in any language.
It’s more than polite, it’s natural!
Here are a few options for responding to congratulations in Italian:
Thanks a million.
I thank you.
Why, thank you.
Sei gentile, grazie!
You’re kind, thank you!
However, don’t limit yourself to these four! Italians have a variety of ways to express their thanks, some of which are nonverbal.
Check out this post for more ways on how to say thank you in Italian.
Now you know how to say “congratulations” like a native!
Life is full of occasions to celebrate and offer someone your congratulations.
After learning such popular ways to say congratulations in Italian, you’ll be ready to express your happiness for others’ successes, whether it’s an engagement, graduation, or anything in between.
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