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Is It Correct to Say “A Big Congratulations”?

Have you ever found yourself wanting to congratulate someone for an accomplishment but are not quite sure the best way to say it? “A big congratulations” is a classic phrase that people use when congratulating someone. But it’s not always clear the best way to use “a big congratulations” in a sentence or the proper context to use the phrase!

It is not correct to say “a big congratulations” as a phrase by itself because it is a fragmented phrase, meaning that it is only part of a sentence. The correct way to say the phrase is “a big congratulations to _____.” When we say “a big congratulations,” we want to praise or give good wishes to a person or group of people because something good has happened to them.

In this article, we will go over the meaning of “a big congratulations” in more detail, how to use the phrase, and some common questions you may have about the words. We’ll also talk about some other things you can say in place of “A big congratulations.” 

What Does “A Big Congratulations” Mean?

The expression “a big congratulations” is a fragmented phrase that tells a whole group of people that someone in the group or many people in the group have done something worthy for us to praise or congratulate. 

When we say “congratulations,” we praise someone for an accomplishment that they have completed or won (source). It’s pervasive for someone to say “Congratulations!” or “Congrats!” as an exclamation.

“Congratulations” is a plural noun that we use to let people know we are proud of them for an accomplishment or exciting life event that has happened to them (source). 

The word “big” is an adjective that modifies the noun “congratulations.” It lets the listener know that the speaker is giving an “extra” or a “big” congratulations (source).

Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “A Big Congratulations”

The phrase “a big congratulations” is not grammatically correct on its own. It is correct to say “congratulations” on its own, but we must use “a big congratulations” in a sentence. This is because “congratulations” is an interjection, while “a big congratulations” is a fragmented phrase (source). 

What About “A Big Congratulation”?

This one is often confusing for English Language Learners. Even if you only congratulate one person for one thing they have accomplished, the word will always be “congratulations,” not “congratulation.”

While “congratulation” is a word, we rarely use it in English. Instead, stick with “congratulations” in most situations, and you will be fine.

Which Is Correct: Congratulations or Congradulations? 

Many people get the spelling of congratulations confused. The correct spelling is “congratulations.” However, sometimes people think it is “congradulations” because many English speakers pronounce the “t” in “congratulations” like a “d,” which can make it difficult for English learners to understand. 

Some people also get confused because people will sometimes write it as “conGRADulations” when someone has graduated from high school or college as a portmanteau between “congratulations” and “graduation.” 

How Do You Use “A Big Congratulations”?

Since “a big congratulations” is not an interjection or an imperative statement but a fragmented phrase, we can’t use it on its own, and we must use it as part of a larger sentence.  

Let’s break down the grammar and take a closer look at the phrase in a complete sentence. 

Implied subject pronoun + verbPhrase “a big congratulations”Preposition + object pronoun
Let’s givea big congratulationsto Cherie
We would like to givea big congratulationsto Andy
We are going to givea big congratulationsto the soloists
We’re givinga big congratulationsto all the scholarship winners
I will givea big congratulationsto Stella
I would like to givea big congratulationsto the swim team
I am givinga big congratulationsto the art department

What’s interesting about the phrase “a big congratulations” is you can use it in conversation and leave off the subject pronoun and verb, and it still makes sense, especially with imperative clauses. Because of the context, your audience will understand the verb and subject pronoun. 

Still, you will need to use the subject pronoun and the verb to give context in most cases.

  • [You] Let us give a big congratulations to everyone who participated.
  • A big congratulations to everyone who participated. 

Technically, the second example is not grammatically correct; however, the speaker uses it colloquially, and we easily understand this in conversation. That’s because when you say “a big congratulations,” you are actively “giving” the congratulations as you say it.

Neither the plural pronoun “us” nor the verb “give” are necessary for everyone to understand what you are doing.

Just remember that it will be essential to use the phrase in a complete sentence by including the verb and subject pronoun if you are writing.

When Can You Use “A Big Congratulations”?

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When we say “a big congratulations,” we express praise and recognition for a notable accomplishment or achievement that someone has made. This phrase can work for significant and particularly noteworthy achievements that you want to praise someone for.


A big congratulations to Kathryn, who recently won a Pulitzer for her new novel.

We can also use it for more normal or mundane accomplishments that you still want to recognize.


A big congratulations to everyone who got an A on their final exam this semester.

The important thing to note is that you are trying to draw attention to someone or a group of people who have accomplished or achieved something that is worthy of praise and attention. 

You can also use “a big congratulations” when someone has achieved a big milestone in their life, such as a wedding, birth, or anniversary. 


A big congratulations to the Andersons who recently welcomed a new daughter into their life.

A big congratulations to Tony and Maria for their 25th wedding anniversary.

Each of these examples is a sentence fragment where we are supposed to infer that the subject is us and wish someone a big congratulations.

It’s essential always to include why you are congratulating the person; otherwise, the other people in your group will not understand why you compliment them. You can say it in the same sentence or break it up.

  • A big congratulations to Zoe for having the highest GPA in the school.
  • A big congratulations to Zoe. She has the highest GPA in the school.

Both examples above are correct. Just as long as you explain why you are congratulating them, whether in the sentence or in the next sentence, you will be fine. 

If you are interested in learning about how to use other standalone pleasantries, you can check out this article: “Is It Correct to Say ‘Safe Travels’?

In What Context Can You Use “A Big Congratulations”?

There are a few important contexts to consider when using the phrase “a big congratulations.” The first thing to know is that we use the phrase most commonly in workplace, professional, or academic settings. These are all places where people will typically have notable achievements that you want to draw attention to. 

Although the language can be somewhat casual and informal at times, it is still a generally formal phrase overall and is not something you would say in more casual conversations. 

GoodLet’s give a big congratulations to every scholarship recipient. 
AwkwardLet’s give a big congratulations to every friend who won a scholarship. 

Both of the examples above are grammatically correct, but the second sentence is not something you’d typically say to friends. Even if several of your friends received scholarships, this would be an awkward way to congratulate them because it sounds formal and “corporate.” 

The second thing to note when using this phrase is that it is not just a phrase to give someone congratulations, but one where you let people in your group know that someone deserves congratulations. The point of using this phrase is to draw attention and give group recognition to someone.

GoodI’d like to give a big congratulations to Sally for winning the art contest. 
AwkwardI’d like to give you a big congratulations for winning the art contest. 

Both examples are grammatically correct once again. Still, just like before, the second example is an awkward and overly formal way to speak to somebody in a one-on-one situation. Remember that this phrase is best reserved for when you are trying to get someone some extra attention!

Telling Someone Else That You Got a Big Congratulations

What if someone congratulated you at work or at school and you wanted to tell someone about your experience? You could say something like this: 

I got a big congratulations in class today from my teacher for winning the poetry contest. 

Let’s take a closer look at that phrase. Unlike when you give someone a big congratulations, there is no option for an implied verb when you tell someone that you got congratulations.

The other important thing to note is that the preposition will change as well to show that the direction of the congratulations has changed from giving to getting. 

Subject pronoun + verbPhrase “a big thank you”Preposition + object pronoun
I gota big congratulationsfrom my teacher

See how in the other examples we say “a big congratulations to____?” However, when talking about having received congratulations, we will say “a big congratulations from____.”

Using “A Big Congratulations” in a Full Sentence

We’ve already covered when to use “a big congratulations” and how to use it, so let’s look at a few more specific examples to get a better sense of how to use “a big congratulations” in a complete sentence.

  • A big congratulations to everyone who applied for the scholarship this year.
  • A big congratulations to Jim for his new promotion. 
  • I’d like to give a big congratulations to the sales team for a successful year. 
  • Let’s give a big congratulations to Marta for her new baby.
  • We’d like to give a big congratulations to Sonia, winner of this year’s singing contest.

Let’s also look at a few more examples of how you could use the phrase if you want to tell someone else that you received congratulations.

  • I got a big congratulations from the team at work today for my promotion.
  • I received a big congratulations from my professor for winning that scholarship.

You can also talk about someone else getting a big congratulations. 

  • Keith got a big congratulations from the office for his big grant. 
  • The scholarship winners got a big congratulations from the dean this week. 

To learn more about other common expressions, check out this article: “Is it Proper Grammar to say Looking Forward to Talking to You?” 

Champagne, Sparklers, Cork, Sparkling Wine, Bottle
Image by Myriams-Fotos via Pixabay

When Not to Use “A Big Congratulations”?

We do not use “a big congratulations” when speaking to someone individually or in a small group of people we know well, like family or friends. Recall that we reserve “a big congratulations” for more formal or professional settings. 

Here’s an example of the first circumstance of a very close or intimate group.

AwkwardLet’s give a big congratulations to every friend who won a scholarship. 
BetterCongratulations to you guys for winning a scholarship!

The second type of situation where you don’t want to use “a big congratulations” is when you are having a one-on-one conversation with someone. If you say “a big congratulations” in this situation, it will sound strange and showy and not at all appropriate for an individual conversation. 

AwkwardI’d like to give you a big congratulations for winning the art contest. 
BetterCongratulations for winning the art contest. 

What Can You Use Instead of “A Big Congratulations”?

If you are trying to draw people’s attention to the hard work or accomplishments that someone has done, but you don’t want to say “a big congratulations,” you can use several other phrases instead.

Let’s look at a few here: 

  • Congratulations.
  • Best wishes (especially if someone is getting married or engaged).
  • Heartfelt congratulations.
  • Warmest congratulations.
  • What an accomplishment.
  • I’d like to give a shout-out to ____.
  • I’d like to give praise to ____.
  • I’d like to recognize_____.
  • Three cheers to ______.
  • A round of applause to ____.
  • Hats off to _____.
  • A big mazel tov to ____ (mazel tov is a Yiddish phrase meaning “congratulations”).
  • A toast to _____.

Synonyms for “Congratulations”

What if you just want to say “congratulations” to an individual instead of a group, maybe a friend or family member or even a coworker? There are some great phrases out there to say “congratulations” that can change things up a bit. 

  • Congrats.
  • Felicitations.
  • Kudos.
  • Props.
  • Mad props.
  • Cheers.
  • Mazel tov.
  • Well done.
  • Good job.
  • Great job.
  • Fantastic work.
  • Amazing.
  • Hats off.
  • You rock.

Sentence Fragments

Normally, an expression that does not contain a subject and a predicate (usually containing a verb) is a sentence fragment (source). However, we generally accept expressions like interjections or imperatives, though they do not follow this rule. This article was written for

For instance, interjections like “Congratulations!” are generally abrupt and lack grammatical connection. Imperative clauses also generally lack a subject while they do contain a verb as the speaker expects the recipient to know who the subject is and what they expect them to do.

Final Thoughts

“A big congratulations” is a phrase we use to acknowledge or recognize someone’s accomplishments to a large group of people. It is useful for work and professional settings when you want to praise someone for something they have accomplished or a milestone they have achieved.