Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
praise English podcast conversation

Have you ever noticed when somebody worked hard and did a good job?

Have you ever wanted to offer praise or support to somebody in English?

This topic is cultural and it might be done differently or more or less frequently in American culture than it is in your culture.

There are some great ways to let somebody know that you noticed them and the hard work that they put in.

We’re going to look at the ways that you can tell somebody that they did a good job or worked hard, and when and how to use these important phrases for connections.

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We have a question from a listener about offering praise.

Hi ladies,

I’ve been listening to your podcast for three years. During this time I gave birth to two sons. Parenting two young boys can be very challenging and a lot of hard work, but it’s interesting. I’d like to ask you a question about a phrase I learned about in a book.

When we compliment our kids, I read about the phrases “How about that” and “great effort.” Do you use these expressions often? I say “good job” when they clean up their toys or eat their vegetables. I’m wondering what is okay to use in these situations.

I would be honored if you could pick this topic one day to discuss on the show!

Thank you for your help!

Rumi from Japan

Praise and Support Help With Connections

How do you praise people?

Do you know the right things to say to offer support in a certain situation?

The right phrases can strengthen connections and make people feel supported.

You need to praise for success, praise for trying, and sometimes just offer encouragement.

You have to learn how to lose, and learn from it–this is an important part of modern parenting.

Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and you have to know how to deal with either situation.

As a coach it’s helpful to work with kids and ask them about one important thing they learned from the game or the loss.

When you see somebody put in hard work, you want to recognize that.

There are phrases that you can use to encourage somebody.

There are phrases you can use to tell somebody that they did a good job.

There are also phrases that you can use depending on if the person wins or loses.

Knowing how to offer praise and support is an important way of connecting.

This shows that you care and offers encouragement and support.

We’re going to look at the phrases in the example from the listener, and we’re also going to look at some great phrases that you can use.

This will prove to be an important part of your English conversations, and so you want to use them often.

Important Phrases To Offer Praise and Support

There are some great phrases to use when offering support and praise.

There is one that may work best in each individual situation.

You want to consider who you are talking to, the situation itself, and the outcome.

These phrases can be a really important way of connecting, so try using them as often as the situation warrants.

  • How about that: This isn’t used often, it feels a it like a mouthful. It sounds sort of out of date, and so you may not hear it very often. This may be used more for surprise and not as much praise. It feels a bit removed from the language.
  • Great effort: It may be something that a sports coach may say. It may work for an older kid, but there may be other phrases that can work better. This feels more exclusive and fitting for sports. This is something that a coach may say to their team of kids. You might give a high five with this on the field.
  • Good try: This is something you may use in real life. It works better and it conveys that somebody worked hard and did well. The intonation is important here so that it comes across the same way. If you say it slower and really emphasize it, then it works better for younger kids. For adults you may deliver it quite differently and just say it quickly.
  • Live and learn: This works well for adults and kids, and it pertains to when you lose. It doesn’t matter if you try and fail, it’s about what you learn from the experience. Go out in the world and try things, even if you don’t win. It’s a learning process, and this phrase works well in this situation. This phrase helps you to convey that you are proud or happy that this person tried and they can learn from the experience, even if they didn’t win.
  • You’ve got this: You would say this to somebody as they are trying to put in the effort. This is said before the actual event happens, and you are trying to encourage people. You may shorten this to “you got this!” It can work for a child taking a test or playing in a game, before it happens. If you know an adult going to a job interview, you may say this before they head in. You could say this to somebody who has studied for a big test right before they go in to take it.
  • Way to go: If somebody has already tried, and if things went well. You may partner it up with “congratulations!” The pronunciation is important here because you would say it in a way that doesn’t spell out every single word or sound. This tells the person you are talking to that you noticed they worked hard and it paid off. They won or they were successful, and you are trying to let them know that their good work was noticed. Their hard work paid off, and so this is great for you to say after the fact and the success.
  • Well done: This is a bit more formal, and it may be used frequently by some people. This may be more of a British thing to say and therefore universal. You may say this in a work setting or professionally. It’s perfectly fine to use and so it can make a great option.

If a phrase feels good to say, then say it.

Any of these phrases can work well to praise somebody and let them know that you see they put forth effort and good work.

Knowing When and How To Praise Somebody

You want to praise people because it makes them feel good.

This helps you to make important connections, just be sure that the phrase is genuine.

Praising is important in an area like parenting, but you have to consider when it’s best to use such phrases.

Praising adults can be important too, but be sure that you are sincere and use the phrase that best fits the situation.

This is an important connection skill, and it’s going to help you tremendously.

Don’t worry so much about what you are saying, it’s just about offering support and praise.

No matter how confident a person seems, everyone needs encouragement.

Even the most confident person doubts themselves and so you have to be aware of this and do your part to offer praise and support.

To summarize the phrases can work for you in the following way.

  • Before the person does something, you say “you’ve got this!”
  • During their event or act of hard work you can say ” way to go!”
  • After the fact you can say “well done” if they won or were successful, or you can say “live and learn” if they lost but still worked hard

Use these guidelines as a way of offering support and praise in the situation that warrants it.

This is an important part of making connections, and you are likely to use these often.


Offering praise and support is an important skill and way of connecting.

Having the right phrase for each aspect of this process can be very helpful.

You now know how to praise kids and adults, and remember that sometimes it’s about using the right intonation.

Be sure that the praise and support is genuine, and think of what will work best with the person and the situation.

This is a great way of connecting because everyone wants to feel good about themselves and know that their effort and hard work was noticed.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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