Patterns – Armchair

It is, of course, possible to speculate about possible syntactic patterns and word choices of compliments. However, it is an empirical question whether these patterns and choices are actually used by the members of the language community under investigation. For research questions about the patterns of compliments, therefore, armchair methods are not to be trusted. They could perhaps be used as first approximations for empirical methods. The researcher could try to think of prototypical compliments and then search for these patterns by using any of the field methods. But this approach would not allow the identification of more original or unusual compliments.