You are too kind to me.

You are very kind to me

I have found the entry You are too kind to me in Michael Swan' s Practical English Usage. But it was not explained when it was used.But it was said that You are too much kind to me is wrong.

I think too kind connotates some negative interpretation and very kind is used is to express thanks or gratitude.

I would like to know the contexts where you are very kind and you are too kind are used.

What is the difference between you are too kind and you are very kind?

  • In which aspect of grammar did the sentence occur? What is it exemplifying and what other examples of the same structure does Swan give? – Shoe Oct 27 '19 at 7:58
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    I think the only thing some users do is either to go in for negative voting or vote for closing. – successive suspension Oct 27 '19 at 14:35
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    I neither downvoted nor voted to close your question. I have Swan's book and was interested to know the context in which the sentence occurred. You are too kind to me can be interpreted literally or (more likely) as heartfelt thanks. It needs context to disambiguate. – Shoe Oct 27 '19 at 17:34
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    Do please stop whinging about down-votes. Everyone gets them. Not to mention you are 2+ right now... – Cascabel Oct 27 '19 at 18:31

What is the difference between you are too kind and you are very kind?

too kind MacMillan Dictionary

used for thanking someone in a way that is very polite but not completely sincere

And from You're Too Kind - A Brief History of Flattery By RICHARD STENGEL, we can again find some negative connotation. Depending on the context, of course. The article is a fascinating read and somewhat a narrative etymology of self love and flattery.

That ironic tone is so often the cloak for all flattery, indeed all praise, these days. What we think of as flattery is usually delivered with an air of arch knowingness, a kind of self-consciousness that says, We all know this is flattery, so don't consider me a weaselly little brownnose for saying it. In fact, these days we struggle to invent new ways to praise people because the traditional methods are seen as a worn-out currency.

This leaves the other compliments such as kind and very kind to their literal meanings, stripped bare of most other connotations. Of course, context is critical in perceiving the meaning of 'too kind' and 'very kind'.

  • Well researched! Good job. – S.S. Anne Oct 27 '19 at 16:14

No, 'You are too kind' does not have a negative implication. It's a rather exaggerated way of thanking someone, suggesting that they are showing you more kindness than you deserve.

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    The negative connotations all rise from the context: when there's not really a reason to be all that grateful, the stronger the expression, the more (intentionally) insincere it feels. But there certainly are many cases where it is perfectly appropriate to use this exact phrase. – Bass Oct 27 '19 at 23:01
  • In my experience it is used, more often than not, with a touch of sarcasm. – Preston Oct 29 '19 at 22:51
  • I do not know how a question with four good answers can be offtopic.The ways of the site are mysterious and misleading.I stopped asking or answering questions on all thses sites two months ago.I am really fed up with the behaviour of the users and even the moderators.I do not mind whether the question is closed or kept open – successive suspension Dec 25 '19 at 13:59

'You are too kind' is merely an idiom. In normal conversation, it doesn't convey any sort of negative connotation - but it can be (and is!) used sarcastically or as a form of flattery, which is where that negative connotation would arise.

'You are very kind' is similar in its meaning but seems more effusive and heartfelt (though that is my personal opinion on the matter).

I'm sure there are regional differences in how often they crop up, but their underlying meaning is the same. Therefore, they can both be suited to a wide range of situations - it depends on your personal preference for one or the other.


(British English speaker here)

I would say both are the same meaning, except that "too kind" is a little more formal, and, as such, maybe slightly prone to being misinterpreted as insincere if you do not normally talk in that manner. However either can be used with the same meaning, and if accompanied with a smile then there should be little chance of misinterpretation.

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