Congratulations on the limitations of the English language



  1. 1. The act of expressing joy or acknowledgment, as for the achievement or good fortune of another.
  2. 2. An expression of such joy or acknowledgment. Often used in the plural: sent him my congratulations on winning the award.

I got all hot and bothered the other day when someone announced they’d got engaged, and I said ‘ooh, congratulations’.

I think of congratulations as praise for an achievement, when getting engaged is obviously just a fairly normal life decision. It is not lik saying ‘congratulations on giving up huge amounts of your time over a period of decades to help stop child sex trafficking’ or ‘congratulations on working hard at your studies for years then at various jobs and then getting a super promotion’.

Another woman on the London Feminist Network echoed this when she said: “I’m getting a bit sick of having to swallow my own views, smile and say ‘oooo congratulations to you both on your engagement/ marriage’ as if getting married = having succeeded in life. For women anyway. Where are all the congratulations and presents and perceived accomplishment to anywhere near that extent for other life changing events such as getting a promotion, moving house, qualifying for a career, having children….”

But the definition specifies both achievement and good fortune, which are very different things.

Therefore I am introducing a new term, which will most probably sweep nation and revolutionise our use of the term. It is ‘celebrations!’ and it is akin to saying ‘yaaay!’ It means ‘let us celebrate this happy event’. It does not mean ‘let me offer you my admiration of your mainstream decision-making in a way that elevates your choice to an actual achievement”.


One Response to “Congratulations on the limitations of the English language”

  1. 1 alfiesaden

    hi – is it just me !! can any one explain why when i type in the yahoo browser “” i get a different site yet whe i type it in google its ok? could this be a bug in my system or is any one else having same probs ?
    alf saden

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