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I work at a large financial services company in Germany where we have rather formal ways. We have a manager who frequently uses the expression "good stuff" to comment on progress and results of anything from minor tasks to large significant projects. He does this both in bilateral situations and in large meetings.

He's a native speaker of English and I'm not, but each time I hear the expression I feel like it's completely inappropriate in our business context.

How informal is "good stuff" exactly?

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  • youtube.com/watch?v=WDgq-K2oYLo
    – user180089
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 18:52
  • The only definitions I found were from Urban Dictionary. So, yeah, it's very informal.
    – NVZ
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 18:52
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    It's less informal than "good shit".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:05
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    I've heard it used around the office here in the US but keep in mind that the US tends to be much less formal than other countries. Also, I'm in IT so that's very informal industry to begin with. I would not expect bankers and lawyers to use it around their clients, but in a close knit team or between co workers it's plausible for an American to use it.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:09
  • @ventsyv Having worked for a company with offices in the US (East Coast) and London, my experience is the opposite of yours - the American business culture was much more formal. "Good stuff" sounds very natural and appropriate to me on either side of the pond.
    – grateful
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:48

1 Answer 1

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It's very informal

Good/great/lovely stuff! (informal) ​

  • something you say to encourage or praise someone:
    • "The sales figures are up this week." "Great stuff!"

(Cambridge.Dictionary)

  • I don't think it is inappropriate. If I were in the meetings I would see this use as an endearing quality (particularly if it were the Alan Partridge-esque "lovely stuff"). It would lighten the mood without showing disrespect or trivialising the situation, in my opinion.

  • This is likely to be a British/German culture difference.

  • It would be inappropriate, however, if written in a formal document.

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    It's not formal but "very informal" is going a bit far. The source you cite doesn't use the intensifier "very". Something very informal of the same meaning might be "it's the shit", which "good stuff" is significantly more formal than.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 16:11

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