There are many different types of talent in the world. Some people are naturally good at academic subjects such as math or languages, and others are particularly good at art, such as drawing or singing. Talent is something that makes you better at something than someone else, even if you put the same amount of time and effort into practicing it.
Talent comes in different forms. Someone can be really good at drawing, and another can understand math concepts very quickly. Some people are able to cook really well, while others are much better at something technical like computer coding. Regardless of the types of talent that you have, most people are good at one thing or another.
You can compliment someone by saying that they are really talented! If it is a compliment about something they are good at and really like to do, they will be very happy to hear you say good things about them.
When you say, “You are talented!”, there are two things that you could actually mean. The first is used when you are talking about someone who is trying something for the first time, or is otherwise a beginner. The second is if you want to compliment what the person did, whether or not they are new at the field.
If you are talking about innate talent
Sometimes, when you say someone is talented, you really are talking about the ability to do something that they were born with. You could be trying to motivate a child, or you might be a teacher who is looking at your students doing something for the first time. If they are able to do really good work, they probably have talent for that particular thing.
1. Have you ever taken a class on this or anything?
This is a good way to keep the conversation light while also expressing how surprised you are. The person who you are talking to likely is able to do great work, but it is clearly their first time trying it. By asking them this, you show that you are truly impressed by what they could make without much training. For this reason, you are complimenting their innate ability to learn that skill.
- Wow, Josh, your painting really looks like it has three dimensions! Have you ever taken a class on this or anything?
- I know your child is only three years old but she seems to really understand music. Has she ever taken a class on this or anything?
2. Did anyone teach you to do this?
Similar to the first question, this question is asked because someone did something really well. The difference is that asking whether someone taught them the skill is more appropriate for younger students than for older people. The reason is that older students have the ability to teach themselves and can read a book to improve, while younger children usually have neither the desire nor resources to do that.
Like the previous question, this one represents surprise. It is the first time (or one of the first times!) that the person has tried this particular skill, and they did it well.
- I am really surprised that you knew to color towards the edges of the lines before coloring on the inside! Did anyone teach you to do this?
- I noticed that you played this note with your left hand and the other with your right. Did anyone teach you to do this?
3. You make this seem effortless.
One of the best things about experts is that they make something really difficult seem like it is effortless. When you watch a basketball game with LeBron James, for example, you may think that what he is doing looks so easy! There is no way that you could not do that as well. They reason is that they do not look like they have to put in much effort to do something that in reality is really difficult. However, this is something that takes a lot of practice. Not everyone can actually do that! Only someone who is really good at something can make it look effortless.
If you say this to someone, it is really high praise. It means that you really admire the person’s ability to do something, and that they are very talented at doing it.
- I know that you are a full time student but you have also been able to grow your blog online from nothing to over 10,000 views a month! You make this seem effortless!
- This is a really tough thing to do, but you make this seem effortless! It is really incredible!
4. You are seriously gifted at this.
This is probably the closest you can get to an exact synonym for saying “you are talented”. You can say that someone is “gifted” as a synonym. If you are thoroughly impressed by what someone else has done, you can praise their gifts as well as their talent and what they create.
- Did you write this short story? You are seriously gifted at this.
- The interior design of that room looked simply amazing! You are seriously gifted at this.
5. You could sell your songs/art.
Another way to make an artist – musical or visual art – feel really great about their work is to give them social proof. This is support from other people, not just their friends, that say how great their work looks or sounds.
If you genuinely think their work is good enough to share with a huge audience, you could suggest that they sell their work and see whether or not people are interested in paying them for their services! Even though there are many different avenues to buy art, there are always people who are willing to buy something that looks good in their living or office space.
- Did you paint this? It looks amazing – you could sell your art!
- This track really does sound great! I think you could really sell your songs!
If the other person simply did a really good job
As I mentioned before, most people who are really good at something can make a really difficult task look very easy. Most of the time this is achievable only after many months and years of work, and a dash of talent.
6. You are really good at this!
This is a great way to simply point out that someone is very good at something. It does not mention their talent specifically, but most of the time you need a bit of talent on top of all your hard work to become very good at something.
- You don’t have a baby of your own but you could keep all these nursery children from crying? You are really good at this!
- I can’t believe you built this Lego figure just by looking at the instructions! You are really good at this!
7. This is amazing/incredible/phenomenal/marvelous/etc.!
This is a great expression to use when you are looking at a painting, after you hear a song, or when you are admiring the work of the talented person. You can use any of these adjectives and similar ones to praise what the person can do.
- Look at that! This is amazing!
- How did you manage to do that? That is absolutely phenomenal!
8. You are an expert at this!
Because an expert is anyone who has extensive knowledge in a particular field and is called upon to give advice, everyone feels good when they are called one. If you want to praise the body of knowledge and expertise that someone has, you can call them an expert!
- Can you teach me how you did that? You are an expert at this!
- I knew that you spent a lot of time practicing your singing and that you had a lot of talent at it, but now you have really become an expert at this!
9. If you taught this, I would sign up!
Another step that that someone who is really good at someone will teach what they know to the people around them. If you want to learn from an expert, you can expect to pay a hefty sum! Many people pay up to learn from the best, and telling someone that they are worthy to learn from means that you can really respect their skills.
- You are really good at explaining this, and you are really patient at it! If you taught a class on this, I would sign up!
- I think I have learned more from this review session with you than from all the previous classes that I attended to try to understand it. If you taught this, I would sign up!
10. You are so skilled; you really know what you are doing!
If you simply want to express your admiration for someone, you can tell them that they are very skilled, and that they know what they are doing.
- This cake smells amazing! You are so skilled at baking; you really know what you are doing!
- Even when you are in a foreign country you seem to always know where to go and what to go. You are so skilled; you really know what you are doing!