I believe it is NOT “Buon lavoro” because an Italian person online expressed that this was to wish someone a good day at work.

So - what do teachers say to students to let them know they've done something well?

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    "this was to wish someone a good day at work." Not only that. For example a teacher could give an assignment to his students and say Buon lavoro to wish them a good work on the assignment. The term lavoro (work) is quite broad in that context. Any kind of activity could be included, not just the job.
    – Bakuriu
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 10:40
  • My Italian teacher has always said "Bravo"/"Brava".
    – Bill
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 11:53

9 Answers 9


Ben fatto:

is a useful expression used to indicate that you are satisfied with a job/ task which have been done well.

  • 4
    Yes. Lower-case f though. Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 14:55

Bravo or Brava means "Good job!". In English, it's often used as an exclamation in the theatre, but it doesn't have to be an exclamation, nor is it restricted to the theatre context.


Teachers say 'Ottimo!' or 'Eccellente!' or 'Ottimo lavoro!' or 'Lavoro eccellente!', but they also say 'Buon lavoro!' when a job is a 'Good job!'

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    "Ottimo lavoro" is spot on, while I never heard "buon lavoro" as a compliment (it's used as a wish, instead). Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 23:00
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    You can answer to the direct question "Come e' quel lavoro?" with a simple "Buono", but you will never listen "Buon Lavoro" as a dry compliment. I mean you can listen "Hai fatto un buon lavoro" in the long form, but not "Buon lavoro!" because the last one is a wish as "Buon Natale!" or "Buon Anno!". You can often listen, instead, "Bel lavoro!" and you can deduce that Italian people (language) feel really close the concept of goodness and beauty :-).
    – Hastur
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 18:19

Just to add to the other excellent answers: a simple translation as

Bel lavoro!

is also very common. So, good becomes beautiful/nice in the translation.

On the other hand, "buon lavoro!" is used as an encouragement to someone who has to perform a task and you want to with her success.


A common Italian expression is "Ben Fatto," or "well done." Here, the emphasis is on the adjectival modifier, "ben."

Other expressions are "Bravo," "eccellente," or "ottimo," which are also adjectives.

"Bel lavoro" is used, but is less common, because it would put the emphasis on "job," rather than "well" or "good."

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    "Buon lavoro" si usa però non come forma di apprezzamento, ma di incoraggiamento per un lavoro che si deve ancora svolgere, augurando che venga ben svolto. Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 7:18
  • @Martina: OK, changed it to "bel lavoro" at your suggestion.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 16:43

Bravo/Brava doesn't mean "Good job", it's more stating a personal opinion about a person who did a good job, so "brava/bravo, because of the way the job was completed".

The best way to translate "good job" in Italian is, imho, ben fatto: it sounds like "properly done", so stating something related to the way the task was completed.


The equivalent for "Good Job" is Bravo or Brava, depending on who you're talking to. And you could simply emphasise the same by making that Bravissimo or Bravissima.

Then there are many other words, Ottimo (Excellent), Ben fatto (You did well) and a few others. Easiest to use is Bravo.


I think that the closest Italian translation of "Good job!" is "hai fatto un buon/ottimo lavoro"


I think that the best is "Ottimo lavoro!"... I always use this (I'm Italian).

  • Maybe "Bel lavoro!" is a better translation Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 9:32

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