13. Congratulating and Sympathising

Bill congratulates pupils on their exam results.

Main practice:  Congratulating and Sympathising
Revision:            how about  -  should've  -  by the way

brilliant  -  
very good; wonderful, i.e.

  • The movie was brilliant
  • The Prime Minister gave a brilliant speech. 

By the way  -  to introduce a new topic into the conversation, i.e.

  • Yes, it's been an expensive month for us. We bought a new car and paid for our summer holiday. By the way, how did your daughter do in her school exams? 
  • ...so, no, I didn't enjoy the film, really, too much violence. By the way, did you speak to Jan about taking a weekend break in Paris?

congratulations  - telling someone you are pleased at their success, or on a special
                                      occasion such as a birthday, i.e.

  • Congratulations on passing your driving test.
  • Congratulations on your birthday.
  • I congratulate you on being promoted to manager of advertising.

    *how about  -  to make a suggestion; put forward an idea, (+ noun or ing) i.e.
- What can I get Anna for her birthday?
- How about a new snow-board, her old one's badly damaged?
  • How about having dinner out this evening?
  • How about playing tennis later; I feel like a game?
*What about...? is also possible.

never mind  -  to say something is unimportant and not to worry about it, i.e.
- Oh no, we've missed the bus.
- Never mind, there'll be another one in five minutes.

- I'm sorry I'm late, the traffic was terrible.
- Never mind, the film hasn't started yet.

should've + past participle  -  
to say something in the past would have been better

                                                             if X had happened, i.e.
  • I should've taken more videos of the children when they were young.
  • We should've brought warmer clothing with us.

well done  -  to congratulate someone on something they've done, i.e.
- I've got a job for the summer.
- Oh, well done, what is it?

- I completed the marathon. I was fifteenth out of one hundred and fifty runners.
- That's really good, well done!
Bill is a history teacher in a British state school. He meets one of his pupils and congratulates him and his sister on their exam results.

Bill:   I hear you did very well in mathematics, Tom. 

Tom: I got an A, Sir. I'm very pleased.

Bill:   And English?

Tom:  Er, B, Sir.

Bill:    That's good.

Tom:  But I only got a C in economics. I should've taken your subject, Sir, History.

Bill:    Well, a C is still a pretty good result. , how did your sister
             do in her physics exam?

Tom:   She got an A Star, Sir.

Bill:     Well, that's , do give her my .

Tom:    I will, Sir, thank you.


Complete the sentences with the language you've practised - use each expression just once.

congratulations  -  never mind  -  well done  -  I'm afraid  -  brilliant  -  how about  -  by the way

1.  The blue ski jacket? I'm sorry, we've sold out, only black and red now. 

2.   on your wedding anniversary. Are you going to have a party?

3.  She publised twenty books. She was a writer.

4.  - Sorry, I've spilt coffee on your carpet.
     - , it's an old carpet, we're going throw it away soon.

5.  - Mum, I scored three goals in the school match.
     - Oh, , very good!

6.   going for a walk this afternoon, the weather's lovely?

7.    ....she's eighty-six and still plays tennis, wonderful, isn't it? , I saw Susan
      yesterday and she send her best wishes to you.