conference call

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yesterday my friend Kyle called me to ask which would be more appropriate to write on a card: "Congratulations on graduating" or "Congratulations for graduating."

Me: Well, this is just off the cuff, but I'd say "for"; "for" makes it clear that the congratulations are given because the person graduated. "Congratulations on graduating," implies the same thing, but doesn't make it quite as explicit as to what you're congratulating the person for.

Kyle: That's what I said. By the way, I have you on speaker phone.

Kyle's Boss: So you say "for"?

Kyle's Intern: Yeah, but what about, "Congratulations on graduation day"?

Me: Well, with that you could be implying that you offer the person congratulations for something other than graduating. That make sense?

Kyle; Kyle's Boss; Kyle's Intern:...

Me: Uh, like, with "Congratulations on graduation day," you're just saying you give them congratulations on that specific day. You don't specify what the congratulations are for; you just specify when you're giving them--you could be congratulating them for baking a cake or existing or slaughtering a hen--anything.

Kyle; Kyle's Boss; Kyle's Intern:...okay...

Me: Though now that I think about it, "Congratulations for graduating" doesn't sound very good...

Kyle's Boss: Well, I can't rewrite too much because I already wrote "Congratulations" on the card.

Kyle: That's why we called you.

Kyle's Boss: Why not just "Congratulations [the name of the person graduating]"?

Me: That sounds better--even though you don't specify what the congratulations are for--though it's pretty obvious...

Kyle's Boss: Okay, good. And comma after "Congratulations," yes?

Me: Yup--and be sure to spell it "C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S," not "C-O-N-G-R-A-D-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S."

Kyle: Awesome, dude, thanks.

Me: And I'd just like to say how great it is that we had this conference solely for the purpose of not having to buy another $4 card when the time and energy we just wasted was probably much more than...



Anonymous said...

It's "Congratulations on your graduation."