Imagine this: you’re in the middle of a deep and interesting conversation with a friend. Your friend says something clever and insightful. You agree with your friend and want to express your agreement with a quick and easy phrase. Is it correct to say “well said” in this case?
It is correct to say “well said” as it is a supportive response of agreement or admiration to someone’s remark. You can use “well said” in conversation when you agree with whatever the other person has just said or if you think they said it particularly nicely. “Well said” is suitable in informal and semi-formal contexts.
Let’s look at the meaning of “well said”: its grammar, usage, and the different contexts where we can use this little phrase.
What Does “Well Said” Mean?
The phrase “well said” means you agree with what the other person has just said or like the words or phrases they used to express their idea (source). You can also use this sentence to tell the speaker, “You spoke very clearly and eloquently about that topic or idea.”
The phrase may look a bit strange at first: it leads with the adverb “well” before the past tense verb “said.” Usually, the adverb comes after the verb.
However, in the case of this little phrase, we put the adverb first. Surprisingly, this rearrangement doesn’t alter the meaning: “well” still describes how something was said or expressed.
How Do You Use “Well Said”?
The most popular way to use “well said” is as an interjection in a conversation. You can use this phrase to jump into the conversation and express your agreement right after someone expresses an idea you agree with.
You can also use “well said” when commenting on the clarity or eloquence of someone’s idea. Perhaps they used a great metaphor or the perfect turn of phrase to express their thoughts. That’s the ideal time to say, “Well said!”
Another way to use “well said” is as a filler. For example, perhaps your friend has said something very profound or intelligent. Instead of panicking and trying to think of something super smart to say in return, a simple “well said” allows you to agree without feeling pressured to reply deeply.
When Can You Use “Well Said”?
You can use the phrase “well said” when you want to show agreement with something that someone else has just said. You should say “well said” right after they complete the sentence you agree with.
The phrase “well said” expresses the sentiment, “You said that very well” or “I like the idea that you’ve just expressed.” It is all about agreeing with whoever is speaking and the things or ideas they’re talking about.
You can use “well said” as a quick response to keep the conversation moving, or you can use it as a deeper reflection on what your friend has just expressed. In some cases, you can also use “well said” as a transition into explaining your own opinion.
- “I trust my friends like I trust the sun will rise in the east.” “Well said!”
- “That was the greatest concert I’ve ever attended!” “Well said, me too!”
- “The family that suffers together stays together.”
- “Well said, although I don’t think suffering is necessary to build close family bonds.”
- “He ran through that party like a bull in a china shop!”
- “Well said; he was careless and rude throughout the evening, indeed.”
In short, the main reason to use the phrase “well said” is to show agreement with an idea and/or appreciation for the words or methods they used to express the opinion.
In What Context Can You Use “Well Said”
You usually hear “well said” in conversations; you may also see this phrase written down in dialogue. “Well said” almost always expresses agreement and appreciation for how someone worded an idea.
There are comedic or ironic ways to say “well said,” too. However, if you say “well said” in a sarcastic way, you could be mocking your friend’s delivery or expression. This is a popular joke in TV shows and comedies, but your friend might not appreciate it mid-conversation.
You can also use “well said” as a filler. This means that you can say “well said” when you don’t have anything else to add to the conversation. For example, when you say “well said,” after your friend expresses an idea, you can take time to come up with your contribution to the conversation.
All in all, conversational contexts such as a chat with friends, an interview with an important person, or a deep conversation with your nearest and dearest are where you can expect to hear the phrase “well said.”
Using “Well Said” in a Full Sentence
The phrase “well said” is a minor sentence: this means it carries the whole message of a sentence, though it doesn’t look like a complete sentence; it is missing a subject, verb, and/or object (source). So, you can use “well said” as a complete sentence, even though it doesn’t exactly look like one on paper.
Grammatically speaking, “well said” already acts as a complete sentence in its own right. It may not look like a complete sentence since we can’t locate the subject, verb, and object quickly. However, a closer look shows that we imply the subject and object by context.
The listener knows that the message of the phrase is, “You said or expressed the idea very well.” So, the minor sentence’s hidden subject is whoever receives the compliment (“you” in this case), the verb is “said,” and the object is the idea that your friend was talking about.
You shouldn’t restate the idea as this would feel redundant in context – it is so apparent that you do not need to reiterate the statement you admire.
Using “Well Said” in a Conversation
When conversing with someone, you can use “well said” to express agreement and/or appreciation for how they expressed something. You should say “well said” right after the idea you want to agree with or express gratitude for.
Let’s look at how you can use the phrase “well said” in a conversation. Check out this example:
Lisa: “I love the way the wind blows through the trees. It’s like watching ripples move through the flat surface of a mountain lake in the summertime.”
Matt: “Well said! That’s the perfect way to describe the motion of the leaves.”
Here, Matt agrees with Lisa’s description of the wind through the trees. He also appreciates how she compared the blowing leaves to the ripples on a lake. So, “well said” was the perfect phrase for him to use!
Other conversational contexts, such as interviews and even text message chats, are also great places to use “well said.” Remember, when you’re communicating and agree with an idea and/or the way the speaker expressed the idea, “well said” is a great way to respond!
When Not to Use “Well Said”
Generally, you shouldn’t use “well said” when you disagree with the person you are addressing. However, if you’re speaking genuinely, you should only use “well said” when you agree with the person you’re speaking with.
It is also possible to use “well said” sarcastically or rudely. For instance, a person may sarcastically say “well said” after a friend has stammered their way through an inadequate explanation. Unfortunately, while this may be funny on a sitcom, most people don’t appreciate it in their daily lives.
You should also be careful about using “well said” in your writing. For example, if you’re trying to agree in writing, it’s usually better to use a complete sentence – such as “I agree with the idea expressed here” – instead of a minor sentence.
So, in speaking and conversational contexts, “well said” is a great way to agree. However, it’s best to use a complete sentence with a clear subject, verb, and object in a written context. The big exception is written conversations, such as emails or text message exchanges.
What Can You Use Instead of “Well Said”?
Instead of “well said,” you can say something like, “I love how you expressed that thought,” or “You said that very well.” If you want to agree, you can use “I totally agree” or “I see your point.”
If you’re tired of using “well said” to agree with a friend or family member, here are some popular alternatives:
- I totally agree with you.
- I agree with you 100%.
- I couldn’t agree more!
- That’s exactly how I see it, too.
- You’re absolutely / totally correct.
If you want to comment on how well or how clearly someone has expressed their ideas, you can use these phrases:
- Nicely put.
- I love how you expressed that.
- You said that clearly.
- Spoken well.
- Rightly said.
- Beautifully put.
If you’re looking for a polite way to express disagreement in a conversation, try these phrases:
- That’s not how I see it.
- I get your point, but I disagree.
- I beg to differ.
- That’s not exactly true.
- Have you considered this from a different angle?
- I don’t think so.
- No way!
- Not necessarily.
Polite Expressions as Minor Sentences
In the English language, we use countless minor sentences as polite expressions. These minor sentences usually occur in conversational contexts and act like complete sentences even when we can’t see the subject, verb, and/or object (source).
The main thing to remember is that despite not seeing or hearing a subject, verb, and/or object, you can catch the whole meaning of the idea. The minor sentence can express the entire idea without including a grammatically complete sentence because its meaning is obvious in context.
The most popular place to see minor sentences is in conversations, especially in answering questions. For instance, if my mom asks me, “Where does your friend live?” I can reply, “Across the street.” Here, “across the street” isn’t a complete sentence but a minor one.
My answer doesn’t have a subject or verb, yet it expresses the whole idea: “My friend lives across the street.” So even though it isn’t a complete sentence grammatically, it describes the concept of a complete sentence.
The context of the conversation is super important when we use minor sentences. For example, imagine if someone came up to you and said, “Across the street.” Do they want you to look or go across the street? Without the context of the conversation and the question, this minor sentence doesn’t make sense.
Likewise, minor sentences require a broader context for us to understand them properly. That’s why we typically use minor sentences in conversations or written exchanges rather than formal writing (such as reports or essays).
More Examples of Minor Sentences
In addition to “well said,” plenty of minor sentences are common in conversational contexts.
The following contains some of the most prominent examples:
- Happy birthday!
- Good morning!
- Sweet dreams!
- Six dollars, please.
- More tea? Milk? Sugar?
- Not really.
- Thank goodness!
- You sure?
As you can see from each of these examples, they’re not complete sentences. This is because they lack one or all of the parts required to make a complete sentence: a subject, verb, and object. However, the meaning of each one is clear, particularly in context. For such expressions, context is critical!
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Even though they aren’t full sentences on paper, each example expresses a complete thought. This is why these are minor sentences: phrases that don’t look like a complete sentence but express the whole idea of a sentence.
“Well said” is a minor sentence meaning, “You expressed that idea very clearly and eloquently.” We use it when we agree with someone and/or appreciate how they’ve worded something.
Usually, we hear the phrase “well said” in conversation, or we see it written down as part of a dialogue, such as an interview, a discussion, or a text message exchange.
“Well said” is a minor sentence, meaning it can stand alone, even though it doesn’t have a subject, verb, and/or object. We tie the exact meaning of this minor sentence in any situation to the conversational context and delivery of the phrase.