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I know we usually say, "I'm flattered" or "I feel flattered" to mean "I appreciate it" or "It's nice of you to say". But I am wondering if I can use "being" before "flattered" in the following context.

A: You're so kind and helpful.

B: Oh, I'm being flattered.

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  • The standard thing to say if you think you're being "flattered" is Flattery will get you nowhere! (that's a lot of hits in Google Books). But if you truly appreciate someone flattering you (bearing in mind they're usually doing this to get you on their side, because they want you to do, say, or think something that you wouldn't necessarily do otherwise), you might (facetiously) say Flattery will get you everywhere Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 17:49

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Maybe. Your proposed sentence is grammatically correct, accurately describes the situation, shows appreciation of the compliment, and someone could say it there.

But it feels very flirty, which might not be what you're after. It would be understood as if you're coyly speaking to yourself out loud, like you're surprised you're being flattered, but you're saying it out loud so the other person can hear it too.

Why?

In the normal examples, "flattered" is an adjective describing me, and how I feel, and both are natural ways of acknowledging flattery in English.

In your proposed sentence however, you're using "flatter" as a verb, so it actively describes the situation. It's odd to describe back to someone something they just did, like your friend orders a sandwich and you say out loud, "Oh, he just ordered a sandwich." Very strange. The only context I can think of where that fits is if you're acting as if you're talking to yourself, or perhaps an invisible third person. So if you say, "Oh, I'm being flattered," that's how it will be understood.

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  • I mean I don't know if I can use it to mean "I appreciate it" or "It's nice of you to say". According to Cambridge Dictionary, "to be/feel flattered" means "to feel very pleased and proud because someone has said good things about you or has made you feel important".
    – YTK90
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 17:28
  • @YTK90 I've edited the top of my answer to make it clear that yes, it would show appreciation. But please note the rest of it, that it conveys more than just appreciation
    – gotube
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 17:31
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    Note that 'to flatter' can mean 'to praise someone insincerely in order to gain their favour'. Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 17:54
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    @YTK90 There is a usage that is common when responding to a compliment, "You flatter me." It doesn't carry specifically "flirty" connotations, and is a more idiomatic way of shifting the focus to the complimentor. It's analogous to "You honor me," but with the implication that the honor is undeserved. Although you can use "flatter" casually without really believing that the compliment is undeserved, if your intent is "I appreciate it" or "It's nice of you to say," there's nothing wrong with saying those directly. Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 18:46
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    I would use being flattered as @KateBunting says, to indicate a degree of insincerity. Example: Pretty girl: Mike, you're so clever and handsome! Mike: Why do I feel I'm being flattered? Girl: I want to borrow your car. Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 19:36

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