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Occasionally, I meet someone who is working hard. He looks so tired and needs to hear some kind words and I don't know what to say. Some time ago, I asked this question of a native speaker and she replied:

Tell him “What a great job!”

Maybe I couldn’t represent my question properly because I didn’t see that the above formula had decreased his exhaustion in doing the job.

What can we say to somebody who looks tired doing a job, in order to soothe his pain?

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The lady who advised you probably meant "You're doing a great job" –  izx Jun 21 '12 at 16:08

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In addition to izx's comment, keep up the good work is often used as a phrase of encouragement and to keep people motivated.

You could also substitute any of the following for good -- great, fantastic, exceptional, &c depending upon how impressed you are with their work or how much encouragement you want to give to them.

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You could say, "Hang in there", which is an informal exhortation, basically meant to encourage someone: "keep on doing what you're doing, and don't be discouraged, even in the face of adversity, hardship, opposition, or fatigue".

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Thanks all of you. Thank you for your time. –  Babak Sorouh Jun 22 '12 at 6:26

This is often done in a somewhat joking manner, e.g.

"Good job, don't work too hard!" with a smile and a chuckle.

Also:

"Nice work, make sure you take a break!"

or

"Wow, that's great, it must have taken forever" (can imply mucho time spend already - sometimes).

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