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A lot of reference is available for this question but I couldn't understand the difference.

That when to use congratulate on and when to use congratulate for.

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Both "on" and "for" are correct. You can use the prepositions when talking about what someone is praised for. But there seems to be a slight difference. You congratulate someone on something when that something is their solid achievement. You congratulate someone for something when they have contributed to something successful:

I really must congratulate the organisers for a well-run and enjoyable event. The employees should be congratulated for the part they have played in the success. (it's like we need to thank them for it)

She congratulated me warmly on my performance. (that was just my performance) I congratulated him on his recent promotion. (that was only him who made it happen - his hard work must be the key)

By the way, there is a formal phrase "someone is to be congratulated for something." It is a formal way of saying that someone has done well (Macmillan English Dictionary):

Your secretary is to be congratulated for his prompt actions. (again, we can rephrase the sentence like this: your secretary is to be thanked for her prompt actions)

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Following these guidelines will allow your sentences to sound more accurate and natural, and less awkward:

Congratulations on generally could be followed by a noun. - Congratulations on the new promotion! - Congratulations on your achievements! - Congratulations on the new house!

Congratulations for generally could be followed by a verb. - Congratulations for being amazing! - Congratulations for achieving great success! - Congratulations for graduating from college!

Though of course exceptions arise: - Congratulations on making it this far! - Congratulations on losing so much weight!

But never: - Congratulations for the new house! - Congratulations for the promotion!

The last two just don’t sound right or natural to me. Others may disagree. Also, when in doubt, you can’t really go wrong with using congratulations on in nearly all contexts. I hope this helps! :)

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    "Congratulations for" could also be followed by a noun phrase starting with a possessive: "Your secretary is to be congratulated for his prompt actions" (from another answer) Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 0:20
  • Yes, exactly! I think the other person answered more thoroughly than I did. Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 0:24
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    More thoroughly, but i think less correctly. I don't think that the own achievement vs contributed to is the relevant distinction, but rather the form of the phrase that follows. Which is why I upvoted your answer. But I'm not quite sure. Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 0:26

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