Which is correct?

I congratulated him for coming first in the race.

I congratulated him on coming first in the race.


According to Oxford Dictionaries Online the verb congratulate collocates with both prepositions, but the meaning is slightly different.

When you congratulate someone on something you give them your good wishes because something special or pleasant has happened to them, e.g. "I'd like to congratulate you on your marriage".

When you congratulate someone for something you praise them for an achievement, e.g. "I'd like to congratulate the staff for their good job".

According to Google NGram Viewer congratulate on is a lot more frequent than congratulate for, but the latter is used nevertheless.

To answer your question, both sound natural to me.

  • Even to me "congratulate for" sounds more natural (and I also hear people speaking it). But I couldn't find a trusted source which gave an example of "congratulate for". – user20934 Jun 5 '12 at 19:45
  • 1
    @HiAll: Did you follow the links in my answer? That's why they are there, to provide sources. – Irene Jun 5 '12 at 19:51
  • In this question I think for is more apt than on as we are appreciating him for his achievement for coming first in the race. – Sudhir Nov 19 '12 at 5:43
  • @Sudhir: Nah. You normally offer congratulations on an achievement, but for acting in a certain way. But I don't think that can be called a difference in meaning - it's more an idiomatic tendency of grammar. – FumbleFingers Apr 17 '13 at 16:44
  • 1
    I couldn't agree with Irene more on that. Good answer Irene! Congratulations for your answer. And congratulations on your job. Keep up the good work! – user85243 Jul 16 '14 at 13:03

In common mistakes in English by T.j.Fitikides (Longman) is written congratulate on not for and didn't say anything why on not for. Ex: Don't say: I congratulate you for your success. Say: I congratulate you on your success. (Common Mistakes in English)


Both of the cases are correct, so you can use any expression you like.

  • 1
    They may be both correct but they have slightly different meanings, as mentioned in another answer. So you shouldn't use any expression you like, you use the one that is appropriate. – Chenmunka May 4 '14 at 17:48

protected by tchrist Jul 16 '14 at 13:05

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?