In Swedish, kids (at least a few decades ago, when I was a kid) sarcastically say:

Kul för dig!

This literally means:

Fun for you!

Or, more clearly:

That's good... for you!! (But what's it to me?!)


Oh yeah? How... fun... for you. I'm so... happy... for you... and I'm not jealous at all.

In English, there's a very common phrase:

Good for you!


Good on you!

Maybe it's just because I think of the Swedish phrase, but whenever an American says this, it always comes off as sarcasm to me. As if they really aren't saying that something is "good", but rather that:

I guess that's good for you[, you boastful little]...

But maybe in English, it's genuinely a way to express that you are happy for somebody else and their success, or whatever was said prior?

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    I think Good on you! might have some currency in Australia/NZ relaxed conversational contexts, but it's not exactly "mainstream" compared to Good for you! As to how often either version represents sincere congratulations, and how often it's just sarcastically dismissive - that's entirely a matter of context and opinion. Commented May 10, 2020 at 15:14
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    It's hard to praise (short of singing hymns), and a lot of attempts come across as sarcasm, ridiculously understated, antiquated or insincere. I try to give back-handed compliments. These often backfire and come across as insults. But then again, a lot of 'compliments' are meant as insults, and tone doesn't always differentiate. Commented May 10, 2020 at 15:24
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    "Good for you" is usually taken to mean approval. "I've taken this up with my manager." Reply "Good for you!" Commented May 10, 2020 at 15:29
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    Any sentence can be used sarcastically. It's a matter of context and delivery (intonation). Commented May 10, 2020 at 15:50
  • The congratulatory and sarcastic aspects of this phrase may sometimes be impossible to disentangle, even taking into account the tone and the context, because a feeling of joy at somebody's accomplishment may be mixed with light jealousy in the very mind of the person using the phrase.
    – jsw29
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


"Good for you" is often used sarcastically, but can also mean "You did well" or "That is well-deserved and I'm glad for you." "Good on you" is almost always intended as a compliment, I believe. But a sinister person who is generally sarcastic could say virtually anything sarcastically or at least with a secret sneer.

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