‘Keep Up the Good Work’: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

By Amy Gilmore, updated on November 16, 2022

‘Keep up the good work’ is a phrase people use to compliment someone on their job and encourage them to continue their work. It is a saying frequently used by employers, teachers, parents, and friends to tell someone to maintain the quality of work they have been producing. 

To learn more about this figure of speech, read this guide. It contains usage examples, definitions, and writing tips for using idioms. 

What Does ‘Keep Up the Good Work’ Mean?

‘Keep up the good work’ is a phrase that people use to encourage someone to maintain the same performance level and compliment them on the work they have been doing. 

When Do People Say ‘Keep Up the Good Work?’

Many managers, teachers, friends, and parents use this phrase to compliment and encourage others. It is a positive statement to tell people. And you can use it in a business or personal setting. 

For example, if you are in management, this is an excellent phrase to use when talking to the employees under your supervision. You could use it in a formal business email or thank you email

Examples of ‘Keep Up the Good Work’

Now that you know the meaning of this idiom, take a look at these sample sentences: 

  • Nancy, you have been doing a great job, ‘keep up the good work.’
  • ‘Keep up the good work.’ Your report was very informative, and I enjoyed your presentation. 
  • Your work on the migration of geese is impressive. ‘Keep up the good work.’

Conversational Example

Student: I completed the assignment on oxen that is due next Monday. 

Teacher: I saw you completed it a week early, and I just finished grading it. You received an ‘A.’ ‘Keep up the good work!’

Other Popular Idioms

Here are a few other idioms you may hear or want to use. 

‘Humble Abode’

Humble abode’ is an excellent choice to describe a modest home if you want to write like Jane Austen. The phrase was used in Austen’s famous book Pride and Prejudice. 

‘Canary in a Coal Mine’

The term ‘canary in a coal mine’ comes from when coal miners used a canary to detect dangerous gases. Today, people use it to say that someone or something is a warning sign of trouble. 

‘Bearer of Bad News’ 

Beare of bad news’ is a statement that describes a person who delivers bad news. However, the statement dates back to ancient times when a ‘bearer’ was someone who carried a body to a grave. 

‘Butt of a Joke’

If someone tells you, you are the ‘butt of a joke,’ they are saying that you are the focus of ridicule or mockery. 

‘Along for the Ride’

When you tell someone you are ‘along for the ride,’ you are telling them that you are not in control, but you are a willing participant. 

Idiom Usage Writing Examples 

Idioms are a great way to connect with your audience. However, using them correctly is critical. Here are a few other tips: 

  1. Do Not Use Too Many

Idioms should be used sparingly. Overusing them can make you seem like you are trying too hard.

  1. Ensure You Know the Meaning

Misusing a figure of speech can make you appear disconnected or unknowledgeable. So, you must make sure you know the meaning of a saying before you use it. To ensure you understand the meanings of popular idioms, bookmark writingtips.org. 

  1. Use Phrases Your Audience Knows

Unless you are trying to write like Earnest Hemingway, you need to use idioms that your audience knows and understands. 

  1. Use Sayings that are Appropriate for Your Audience

Some phrases are not appropriate for every audience. When it comes to ‘keep up the good work,’ you do not have to worry much about your audience because most people are happy to hear that they are doing a good job. 

Final Advice on Using ‘Keep Up the Good Work’

‘Keep up the good work’ is a phrase you can use as a teacher, parent, friend, or colleague. It is well-received and a great way to encourage people to continue doing what they have been doing. As long as you are mindful of your audience, tone, and the meaning of idioms, you should be able to use this and others to enhance your writing. 

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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