Good on You: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
May 23, 2023

The idiom "good on you" signifies complimenting or congratulating someone for something they've done well. It's often used to express approval or recognition of someone's achievements or actions.

In short:

"Good on you" is a way to congratulate or commend someone for their accomplishments or good deeds.

What Does "Good On You" Mean?

The idiom "good on you" is used to show appreciation, admiration, or recognition towards someone's achievement or positive action. If you're saying, "Good on you," you're applauding or praising someone for doing something commendable.

Key aspects of the idiom's meaning include:

  • Expresses appreciation or approval
  • Associated with acknowledging accomplishments or positive actions
  • It can be used in a variety of situations, from minor achievements to major successes

Where Does "Good On You" Come From?

This phrase originated in English-speaking regions like Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The exact etymology is uncertain, but it appears to be a regional variation of similar phrases like "good for you" used in other English-speaking regions.

Historical Example

"Good on you, Gilbert! Get it on the stack."

- The English Dialect Dictionary, Joseph Wright, 1900

10 Examples of "Good On You" in Sentences

Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:

  • When I told my mom I got an A on my physics test, she said, "Good on you! Keep up the good work."
  • Good on you for donating blood. I really appreciate it.
  • My friend just got into Harvard Law School. Good on you, mate; you deserve it!
  • The coach told the team, "Good on you for never giving up. That's the kind of determination that makes champions."
  • Good on you for picking up that litter in the park. Every little act of environmentalism helps.
  • When my sister ran her first marathon, I said, "Good on ya! No guts, no glory!"
  • The boss said, "Good on all of you for pulling together to meet that big deadline. I knew I could count on this team."
  • After my grandson's first soccer goal, I shouted from the sidelines, "Woot-Woot! Good on ya, kiddo!
  • When I told Nick I was going back to school at 50 to get my degree, he said, "Good on you! I'm rooting for you."
  • The charity organizer said, "Good on everyone who donated or volunteered their time. Together we made a real difference."

Examples of "Good On You" in Pop Culture

The phrase "good on you" frequently appears in media that features Australian, New Zealand, or British characters, emphasizing their unique linguistic characteristics.

Some examples include:

  • "If you have achieved your aims, good on you. If not, please do not despair," is a quote from the 2018 book "Thoughts on Life and Advertising."
  • "You may not hear voices: if so, good on you. I'm glad you don't, but I do," is a quote from the 2011 biographical book "A Good Book."

Other/Different Ways to Say "Good On You"

There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar sentiment to "good on you."

Some of these include:

  • Well done
  • Congratulations
  • Nice job
  • Great work
  • Kudos to you

You can use these alternatives interchangeably depending on the context and the level of achievement or good deed performed.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Good On You"

  • What does "good on you" mean?

"Good on you" is a way to express approval or admiration for someone's achievements or good deeds.

  • How can I use "good on you" in a sentence?

You can use it to commend someone for their accomplishments, such as "Good on you for finishing the project ahead of schedule!"

  • Where does the idiom "good on you" come from?

The phrase originated in English-speaking regions like Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. It's a regional variation of similar phrases like "good for you."

  • Can people use the phrase in written communication?

Yes, "good on you" can be used in both informal and formal written communication, such as emails, cards, or text messages.

  • Are there any regional differences in using the phrase?

While the phrase is understood across English-speaking regions, it's more commonly used in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom than in other regions like the United States.

  • Can strangers use the phrase "good on you"?

Yes, the phrase is not context-specific and can be used by anyone to commend someone's good deeds or accomplishments.

  • Is it okay to use the phrase when talking about a group of people?

Yes, it can be used to express appreciation for a group's actions or decisions, such as "good on you guys for volunteering at the shelter."

  • Is it okay to use the phrase to express understanding?

Not really. The phrase is specifically used to commend or congratulate, rather than to express understanding or comprehension.

  • What's the difference between "good on you" and "well done"?

Both phrases are used to acknowledge someone's achievements or good deeds, but "good on you" is more colloquial and informal compared to "well done."

  • Can one use the phrase in a formal context?

While "good on you" is generally more informal, it can be used in formal contexts as well, especially in regions where the phrase is common.

Final Thoughts About "Good On You"

In conclusion, the idiom "good on you" is a versatile expression used to commend or congratulate someone for their accomplishments or good deeds. While it originated in certain English-speaking regions, it's understood and used globally, bringing a touch of warmth and appreciation to conversations.

Key aspects of the phrase:

  • Expresses approval or admiration for someone's achievements or good deeds
  • It is generally more informal but can be used in formal contexts
  • Widely understood across English-speaking regions, with particular prevalence in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

While the phrase is simple and straightforward, its usage can inject positivity and encouragement into interactions. Therefore, it's an excellent addition to your vocabulary when you wish to acknowledge someone's efforts or achievements. So, next time you want to express approval or admiration, consider saying, "Good on you!"

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