Well done!

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Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

I'd like to know about the phrase "well done" and I think it means "one has done a good job" and could be used as a compliment.

Context:

Last night, when I was in elevator, I met a teenager. He helped me press the button and I then said:

Well done!

But later when I went back on this scene, I thought I misused the phrase "well done", do I simply need to say "Thank you" and that's enough?


Thanks a lot
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with the others. Save "Well done!" for a job for which someone has put forth some effort and which has been well executed. Someone who pushes an elevator button or holds a door open for you deserves a "Thank you!", neither more nor less.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    In that situation it could sound sarcastic, as if pushing a button were a difficult task for the teenager.
    I agree with the others. Save "Well done!" for a job for which someone has put forth some effort and which has been well executed. Someone who pushes an elevator button or holds a door open for you deserves a "Thank you!", neither more nor less.
    Dear friends,

    I now have a new question. I want it to sound sarcastic this time, please take a look at my situation to see whether it's okay.

    I was picking up litter on the street and suddenly an elementary school student walked by, he also threw some rubbish next to me. I saw what he was doing and he knew what I was doing. He was eating snacks and then threw the snack bag on the street. I then said with a ironic smile:

    Hey, well done!

    I wonder if it's natural in this context.

    Thanks a lot
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I want it to sound sarcastic this time
    While the situation may give some idea as to whether something is said sarcastically or not, the main clue is usually tone of voice. That's why, in writing, you often see such things as:
    "Well done!" he said sarcastically; or "Well done!" he said, with obvious sincerity.

    Tone of voice can often be hard to master when you're not speaking your native language, especially in cross-cultural situations.

    Ws
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I was picking up litter on the street and suddenly an elementary school student walked by, he also threw some rubbish next to me. I saw what he was doing and he knew what I was doing. He was eating snacks and then threw the snack bag on the street. I then said with a ironic smile:

    Hey, well done!
    You mean you assumed that this child understood English?
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    You mean you assumed that this child understood English?
    Sorry, I forgot to mention that I spoke Chinese with the naughty boy, but it really doesn't matter which language I used because in Chinese, the term meaning "well done" is too short, just like English.
     
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