I am not sure if this is the right place, but I was wondering if "good for you" and "I am happy for you" have a negative or positive connotation.

2 Answers 2


At face value, and taken literally, these are both positive.

Both can also be said sarcastically or with self-pity, and in that sense they could be negative.

  • So by default, would people consider it positive or negative in different cultures around the world?
    – Alec Smart
    Mar 9, 2011 at 7:20
  • @Alec Probably positive.
    – Ed Guiness
    Mar 9, 2011 at 15:35
  • @Alec: All language can be used in different ways depending on context. Both phrases are semantically positive. There are no negative words in either. But there's always room for sarcasm, and both can be used sarcastically. A statement that would elicit 'good for you' might be self-promotion. 'good for you' sounds like it might be used sarcastically to such self-promotion more often than 'I'm happy for you'
    – Mitch
    Jun 18, 2012 at 18:28

I think they are both pretty positive. I never heard people use them in a negative way.

  • I always thought "Good for you" is negative and "I am happy for you" as positive.
    – Alec Smart
    Mar 8, 2011 at 8:39
  • 4
    @Alec Smart: As a phrase on its own it certainly can be used negatively - often as "Good for you", meaning "That's great as far as you're concerned, but how does that help the rest of us?". And of course saying that a certain food or medicine is "good for you" can be a euphemism for it having a horrible taste ;-)
    – psmears
    Mar 8, 2011 at 16:54

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