• Daniel Bullock

35 great ways to encourage someone in English

Updated: Jul 20, 2019

ways to, encourage, english
"You handled that so well!"

Have you ever wondered what to say to someone when they need encouragement? How do you sound like a native speaker of English? Look no further, because in this article we are going to talk about how to give encouragement using a huge variety of different expressions.

But first, what does the word encourage mean? There are several definitions, but it essentially means to inspire, motivate and give spirit to someone. Anything you say to someone that gives them inspiration or motivation could be considered as encouragement.

When to encourage someone?

There are so many different situations in which you might want to offer encouragement. Here are a few examples…

  • Your friend is going to take part in a sporting event

  • Someone you know has a test soon

  • A relative is having a hard time dealing with work colleagues

  • A friend, relative or coworker is trying to diet but is struggling with it

  • You are watching your child or friend’s child take part in a sports match

  • Your child little has little motivation to complete homework

  • And many, many more possible situations!

Now that we know what kind of situation we might want to offer encouragement in, we need to think about exactly what to say in order to provide said inspiration, so here we go, starting from short phrases and building up to longer ones:

35 Fantastic ways to offer encouragement to someone

1. You can do it

2. Come on!

3. Wow!

4. No way!

5. Hang in there

6. Don’t give up

7. Do your best

8. That’s the way

9. Nice going

10. Keep at it

11. Nice one!

12. You’re almost there

13. You’re doing well

14. That was excellent!

15. Very impressive

16. Try your best

17. You’re good at that

18. You’re nearly done

19. That is much better

20. Good thinking

21. What an idea!

22. What a brilliant idea!

23. Great effort

24. You’ve got this

25. You are nailing it

26. You are crushing it

27. I have faith in you

28. You handled that so well

29. You have a great attitude

30. I wish I’d thought of that!

31. You’ve got a knack for this

32. You know what you’re doing

33. You don’t need any help from me!

34. You’re in a league of your own

35. You’re really getting the hang of this

Which expression should I choose when I want to encourage someone?

Now we have a super list of encouragement phrases, let’s explore some of these in more detail. We will include some examples to show you a typical situation and a natural encouragement phrase that a native speaker of English might use. This will help you to decide which phrase is best for your real-life situations. We shall use the examples of when to encourage, stated earlier on in the article, as a general guide to how these expressions are used. After that, hopefully you will be able to come up with the right phrase to fit the event.

What to say to encourage your friend before they take part in a sporting event?

Let’s imagine a close friend has a soccer match coming up this weekend. He is a little nervous about it. What should you say? Many of the phrases in our list would be fine, but here is a very natural example:

Football player: I’m getting a bit nervous about the match on Saturday. What if I don’t play well?

Friend: I know you have trained hard, so just do your best! I’m sure it will go fine!

How do you give encouragement to a relative who is having a hard time dealing with work colleagues?

Now let’s picture a situation where your relative or friend has just gotten a new job. They don’t feel welcome, in fact, it feels like their colleagues don’t accept them. Naturally your relative is going to start feeling down and demotivated. What can you say to lift their spirits? How about this example, which a native speaker of English might use:

A: No one seems to like me at work, they don’t joke around or talk to me in the break room. I don’t feel like going to work at the moment.

B: Hang in there. It might just be because you are new. Sometimes workplaces can be like that. I know it sucks, though. Give it a few more weeks, I’m sure people will warm up to you soon!

How do you offer encouragement to someone struggling on a diet?

This situation is definitely one of the more delicate ones you are likely to encounter! Some people are more sensitive than others, so the type of language you use really depends on the person. In this example we will show you how to safely give encouragement to someone who wants to lose weight!

Jim: It is so frustrating, Matt. I’ve been trying to get rid of my extra weight, but I just can not seem to do it. I have tried all kinds of diets, but nothing seems to work! What am I doing wrong?

Matt: I have faith in you, Jim. Dieting is a big deal, I don’t think it is something that can be done overnight. Keep going with what you are doing now, because from what you’ve told me, you are doing the right things. I’m sure you will see results in the end!

How do you encourage someone taking part in a sporting event?

This one is relatively straightforward. The key to this is using a variety of phrases. If you keep saying the same thing, you will end up sounding like a parrot. So, mix up you catalogue of vocabulary. When the your child, or friend’s child is playing in match, you can shout out things like: Come on! Nice going! Great effort! You’re crushing it! Keep at it! Don’t give up!

soccer, boots, encourage to win, crushing it
You're crushing it!

How do I motivate my child to do homework?

This is a really tough one! A lot of it will depend on the personality of the child, and how receptive they are to encouragement. Age also plays a factor. For young children, lots of energetic, over the top (exaggerated) encouragement can often work. For teenagers, less obvious, softer encouragement is often required.

Daughter (very young): Dad, I don’t want to do homework, it is so boring!

Father: Keep at it. You nailed the last exercise! I’m really proud of you.


Daughter (young): I’m tired, I can’t do any more homework!

Mother: Your answers have been excellent today! I’d love to see more of that! You’re doing so well, it would be a shame to quit right now.


Son (teenager): I’m stopping now, it is so dull.

Dad: Try to keep at it a little longer? You handled that last problem so well, it would be great to see you continue to do it!

How to encourage people is a life skill

Giving encouragement to people is a very valuable skill to possess. It enables you to not only help people with their problems, but also to sound more natural in your English. This advice is aimed at students of the English language, but it can also be used for native English speakers who feel they lack the appropriate vocabulary for situations that require encouragement. Go for it!

Cheers and have a great day!