When I wrote down "Thanks for your arduous help", I thought I've chosen the proper word to convey the correct meaning, unrealized of the problem until it was pointed out to me:

arduous is the wrong word; I think you mean extensive or comprehensive (or possibly detailed) in this case. They are similar, but arduous would be used for the process of producing help, not for the help-output.

Yes, I did mean to express extensive, comprehensive and detailed, but from the translated meaning, none of them mean the same level as arduous. I.e., none of them is as powerful as what I want to express. So,

  • Why I can't say "arduous help" in this case? I still want to know that fine difference.
  • What are the proper words for this, emphasizing on the "excessive" part? The only thing come to the top of my head is "zealous", but I want avoid it because it is most often used in a negative way. Oh, oh, "tremendous" is one, but that only stressed on the "big help" part, not on the part that the other person went overboard to help me.


  • 2
    I think arduous means toilsome, very difficult, hard to achieve, I would use your thorough help – Cardinal Jun 16 '16 at 10:30
  • This isn't an exact answer, but you might find it helpful: ell.stackexchange.com/a/57922 – ColleenV Jun 16 '16 at 20:26

arduous has quite strong negative connotations: it is a word that you would use about a task, but not about a person's contribution to completing the task. It means difficult, needing a lot of effort and energy.

When the land rover broke down, we had an arduous trek to get back to base.

His duties are arduous and require a great deal of bending, squatting, reaching and lifting.

He had almost completed an arduous 16-hour shift when the accident happened.

A more appropriate word would be enthusiastic. Which in this context committing a lot of enthusiasm (energetic interest) to helping you.

  • Hmm... I thought the act of helping is a kind of task, isn't it? Ok, let me ask this way, what are the examples of normal usage of arduous? arduous task/work... anything else? And not used cases as well, e.g., can I say the arduous-effort? thx – xpt Jun 16 '16 at 13:52
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    Yes, helping is a kind of task, but like JavaLatte says, arduous basically means "difficult". You wouldn't say "Thank you for your extremely difficult help" either. We use arduous to refer to a challenge someone faces, not to the work they do. – stangdon Jun 16 '16 at 14:55
  • Ah, no wonder. Now I get you. Thank you both, and +1 for you both. – xpt Jun 17 '16 at 2:39

The noun help collocates with quite a lot of adjectives, for example:

Enormous, huge, immense, invaluable, substantial, generous, much-needed.

For more collocations with the noun "help", here's the link to a very helpful resource. And here's the link to numerous thank-you-phrases.

As for the particular meaning you have in mind, I'm thinking over the possibility of using tireless, or untiring, or constant, or continual, but since English is my second language, I am not sure how it sounds to native English speakers - so, a couple of their comments is needed for you and me to be sure.

Lastly, "arduous help" does sound really weird. This adjective collocates best with such nouns as process, work, journey, task.

  • Thanks! upvoting! Hope others will think this is the most helpful too... – xpt Jun 16 '16 at 13:54

I agree with @Cardinal and @JavaLatte, thorough and enthusiastic are a good choices.

You could also just say "Thanks for all your help" or "Thanks for all the help" and that would be very natural. At least in my country's vernacular that is what we would say.

  • In that case, I'd use tremendous instead. Please note what I'm trying to emphasize here. – xpt Jun 16 '16 at 13:47

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