Congradulations vs. Congratulations: What Is the Right Spelling?

Congratulations spelling errors are fairly common because congradulations sounds like it has a “d” in the middle of it! Adding to the confusion is the fact that we see the word coupled with the word “graduate” quite a bit.

English is a beast of a language, a Frankenstein’s monster cobbled together out of Norse, Latin, Celtic, Saxon, and Germanic languages, with a smattering of Greek.

Hopefully, you will no longer make the spelling mistake after reading our congratulations spelling guide.

Congratulations Meaning: What Is It?

The English word “congratulations” has Latin origins. It was known as “congratulationem,” a past-participle stem of “congratulari” or “wish joy.” It combines the words “com” which means “together with” and “gratulari” which means “give thanks” or “show joy.”

In Latin, when you combine the com- with a word that starts with the letter “g,” the “m” turns into an “n.” This combination means that the congratulator wants to rejoice with you! Or, to share the joy with you.

The “congratulations” we know today came into use in the mid-1600s. It shares a similar definition to its original Latin counterpart – to express praise, joy or good wishes.

Using Congratulations in a Sentence

Fortunately, much of this type of writing (well-wishing, cards, and celebratory phrases) is formulaic, so you won’t have to think too much about how to use it. You’ve probably heard phrases similar to the five examples below.

Examples:

  • Let me offer my congratulations to you on your promotion.
  • Congratulations on your new baby!!!
  • I hear congratulations are in order.
  • Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t get to offer you congratulations sooner; I heard that you won best in show.
  • Congratulations on selling your home!

Congradulations vs. Congratulations: How to Spell Congratulations?

An image showing the right congratulations spelling

The short answer: congratulations, with the “t” in the middle.

If you have ever watched a spelling bee, you may have heard participants request the language origin of the spelling words. This is because various languages have their own systems of phonetics and grammar that affect the spelling of the words.

For instance, in German and Greek, many words that begin with a “C” or “Ch” in English will often begin with a K.

Looking at the definition above, you can see that the etymology of the word comes from a combination of the words “com” and “gratulari.” The word “gratulari” only changes at its ending (to show who is being addressed, or who is feeling joyful), and NOT in the middle of the word.

It’s the word endings that usually change when being combined, or to show how many people are speaking/spoken to, and in what context. This happens in French and Spanish, too, as they are Romance languages.

Trick to Remembering the Spelling

Well-wishers worried about their congratulations spelling might even downgrade the formality of their message and write “Congrats,” avoiding the congratulations spelling confusion altogether.

They should take a pause and notice there’s a “t” at the end of that abbreviated word. That’s a HUGE CLUE to the spelling of the word!

Last tip: “gratuity.” You give a server gratuity (the tip). It has a “t” in the middle, and is a synonym for “tip,” which starts with “t.”

Conclusion

Sounding words out usually works, but regional dialects affect how words sound, so we get confused. In the US, a lot of t’s sound like d’s, if they don’t disappear altogether. It is no wonder, then, and no shame, that congratulations spelling gives well-wishers so much trouble.

And if you DO remember to use a “t” and not a “d,” congratulations!


Capitalize My Title is a dynamic title capitalization tool used to make sure your titles or headlines use proper capitalization rules according to various style guides include APA, AP, MLA, and Chicago. It also counts your words and checks for grammar issues.

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