In French we distinguish Bon courage/Good courage and Bonne chance/Good luck. But we don't say "Good courage" in english. In English it seems like we say "Good luck" for both.

Although for me, as a French speaker, this distinction is important sometimes.

For example:

When someone tells you he is exhausted and he still has to work very late. To say "Good luck", to me, it sounds a bit strange or tricky. Like "good luck with that". And saying "be strong" sounds over made.

Is there a proper way to make this right in English?

  • 1
    Could you possibly clarify what the distinction is, for us non-French speakers? – Alexander Jun 26 '17 at 13:29
  • @Alexander Bonne chance/Good luck is used for chance. Bon courage/Good courage is used for an effort. Like for an exam, we would say "Bonne chance". For 10h of driving, we would say "Bon courage". – Elfayer Jun 26 '17 at 13:32
  • 1
    Superficially you might think the English equivalent of Bon courage! as an encouraging "imperative" should be Have courage!, but actually that one's not very idiomatic. Natural usages today include Be brave! and Have faith! (or, for example, Give it your best shot / all you've got! if you want to focus on the addressee maximising his effort in some upcoming difficult situation). If speaking after the effort, something like Well done! is more appropriate. – FumbleFingers Jun 26 '17 at 17:25

I know what you mean, there isn't a specific term for "good courage" at least that I can think of.

"Good luck" can have different connotations depending on how you say it and in response to what. However, if you wanted to avoid all of that, then I would go with a general statement of sympathy for the situation followed by encouragement:

So statement of sympathy

That sucks!

followed by something like:

  • Hope you finish soon.
  • Hang in there, you can do it!
  • Don't let them get you down (or similar)
  • That sucks, but you're almost done, you'll be home in no time.
  • 1
    Although the word is gradually making its way into the vernacular, learners should know that some still regard the word "sucks" as having some vulgar connotations. I would be cautious with that one in formal situations such as the workplace. You might be able to get away with it in some work environments, but this also may be a case where it's better to be safe than sorry. For more on this, you can find varying opinions here, and this was also discussed once on ELU. – J.R. Jun 26 '17 at 15:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.