I need a phrase to express gratitude for the additional work on a specific topic someone did while I was busy. I was thinking

Thanks to X for pulling a lot of weight doing Y while I was busy

but I am not sure if the phrase "pulling one's weight" is applicable like this.

Any input? Thanks!

  • I think "pulling one's weight" is mostly used in a negative context, ("not pulling one's weight"), so as Buddha Theis suggests, using it in a positive context may imply that it was formerly not so.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 10, 2016 at 11:05
  • 2
    "Pulling one's weight" means doing your apportioned share of the work -- no more, no less. "Pulling a lot of weight" is not an established idiom.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 10, 2016 at 11:42
  • 1
    If you are a non-native speaker, I would urge you to try to absolutely avoid figures of speech and idiom. Instead, state exactly what you mean. Use short sentences. If you are a native speaker, I would urge you to try to absolutely avoid figures of speech and idiom. Instead, state exactly what you mean. Use short sentences.
    – Fattie
    Jun 10, 2016 at 12:07

6 Answers 6


go the extra mile (also walk the extra mile) — TFD


to do more than one is required to do to reach a goal; to make more effort than is expected of you.


I like doing business with that company. They always go the extra mile.

So you could say:

Thanks to X for going the extra mile for me doing Y while I was busy

  • For the origin of this expression, see Jesus' words in Matthew 5:41 in the New Testament of the Bible. Don Jun 10, 2016 at 12:30

You could use:

Thanks to X for pulling their weight doing Y while I was busy

But some people might find that the phrase 'pulling their weight' has implications that perhaps they might not have been pulling their weight before. It might be better to go with this sort of phrase:

Thanks to X for working extremely hard doing Y while I was busy; extremely grateful!

Or something like that. When you are writing your phrase try to bear in mind any implications that might arise due to words or phrases which may already have particular meanings within your workplace, too.

For example, if people have regularly and/or recently used 'hard' as a go-to sexual euphemism you might want to avoid it. Similarly, if there was an office meme saying: "you're all a bunch of dead-weights" or similar, or if the person has a known issue with their body-image, perhaps best avoid the weight one. So pick from what you have to-hand, but try to avoid anything that might be seen as insulting in the specific situation, and with the specific person, even if you don't mean it to be. Conversely, try to choose words and phrases with positive connotations, as much as possible (but not so much they lose their impact!).


If you want to keep it colloquial you could consider

thanks for stepping up [...]


thanks for picking up the slack [...]


If you are not sure about a phrase, it is better not to use it. I don't think using to "pull a lot of weight" could be misinterpreted in your example. However, to pull one's weight doesn't necessarily mean to help you while you are busy. As the link shows, it means to do one's share in a common task and it is usually used in a negative sentence as this example shows.

'Bob has never pulled his weight, and we all have to work harder to make up for his laziness'

I would use to "help me with my work" in place of to "pull a lot of weight".

Thanks to X for helping me with my work doing Y while I was busy

or to "do his best"

Thanks to X for doing his best doing Y while I was busy


Going above and beyond the call of duty

is fairly common, as is

Doing more than his fair share


To stick with the "weight" theme, how about heavy lifting?

From The Free Dictionary:

heavy lifting: serious or difficult work: credited her for doing all the heavy lifting on the project.

The OP's example:

Thanks to X for her heavy lifting on Y while I was busy.

Thanks to X for doing the heavy lifting on Y while I was busy

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