Ways to Say “Thank You” in English!

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Thanking in English

Most of us will remember “the look” our parent(s) used to give us when we were little, whenever they handed us something we needed. For those of you unfamiliar with “the look” or old age is getting to your memory allow me to explain – it was a look for you to say “thank you”. The English language is littered with many important phrases and words but probably none more important than thank you. You don’t have to be super polite to know that these two words can go a long way and it is always a good thing to let people know you are grateful for what they have done or are doing.  So start sharing the Thanksgiving spirit by teaching some fun and less known ways to show gratitude!

“Thank you”: this is pretty much the standard, international norm within the English language and can be used for just about any type of situation. A kind stranger holds the door open for you, somebody picks up something you dropped, a waiter delivers delicious food to your table. Even if you’re suddenly thrown into a life and death situation where a super-powered being comes to save the day! (Read: Yeah, um, this probably isn’t going to happen but you never know!)  

“You saved my life there”: keeping in theme with superheroes, we get to this way of saying thank you which is a tad dramatic. 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t actually mean a life was saved but usually, the situation was pretty dire and deserved something stronger than the standard “thank you”. Something along the lines of a colleague making up an excuse to the boss about where you were that ends up allowing you to keep your job. Maybe you slept in and were late to work but they covered for you and said your mother was feeling ill or the cat had suddenly learned how to talk. (Maybe not that last one actually…)

“Cheers”: this thank you is very British and is used more often away from a drinks table than you may think. Of course, when glasses are raised in a toast, it is customary in Britain to clink your glasses together and utter cheers. Yet you can also use this as a substitute for thank you in any situation you deem thankful for.   

“I cannot thank you enough”: there are scenarios out there where you literally don’t have the words that correctly describe how appreciative you are. For example, when you’ve had a really long, hard day and it’s raining and cold outside. Then you get home to find your favorite meal waiting for you and you’re just at a loss for words to truly describe how happy you are.  

“Thank you for coming”: please get your mind out the gutter people! This type of thank you is reserved solely for showing gratitude for presence. Whether it be a birthday party, funeral, wedding, concert etc.  

“Thank you for inviting me”: In return to the above thank you, you may choose to reply with a thank you of your own. This may seem like a lot of thanking but hey, this is the English language. There is pretty much a thank you for every situation!

“I owe you one”: saying thank you like this is generally attributed to the fact that somebody did you a favor rather than just a courtesy. For instance, somebody holding the door open for you as you walk behind them into a building is a courtesy. Yet, your friend coming to pick you up and drop you home because you left your bus pass at home is a favor…and now you “owe them one”.  

“You shouldn’t have”: this phrase is actually one of the most ambiguous thank you’s out there because it can mean one of two things. 1) Somebody bought you an utterly lavish and expensive gift for your birthday when you know they didn’t really have the money but you’re so happy they did! You’ve been eyeing up that new (insert present) for ages now and they went ahead and got it for you! Oh man, you can just FEEL the love. 2) This person clearly doesn’t know you at all and they went out and got you the most ridiculous present ever – a rubber chicken suit when you’re afraid of chickens and allergic to latex. However, you don’t want to be rude, so you tell them they shouldn’t have when really, you actually, genuinely mean, they should. Not. Have! Ugh.

“You’re too kind”: this type of thank you is for when an individual has done something sweet or gone a little bit over and beyond. Maybe you received flowers when you were feeling under the weather or somebody let you board the train before they did.

“I’d like to thank…”: a plural way of saying hello when there are too many people to thank (or you’re just too lazy to thank them all individually). A perfect example of this would be a company boss thanking his entire staff for their dedicated work that business year. Of course, she/he can’t name each single staff member (it would take too long and require too much memory power) so it’s easier for all if they just thank the group in its entirety. Unless Karen from accounting discovered a clerical error that ended up saving them millions and she needs a special shout out!  

“You had me at hello”…”You are life”…”What are you?”: these may not be ways of saying thank you that you are familiar with but this is because they are unique ways of saying it. When showing others how thankful you are, there is no rule that says you HAVE to use a certain thank you. As long as you say something along the lines of thank you that the other person understands how appreciative you are – you can say literally anything.

Thank you for reading this blog…see what I did there?…I’ll show myself out.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Thanks a million!” is common in the midwest USA when you want to express more than a courtesy, “Thanks.”

    “You bet!” can be used as a thank you in particular and an affirmative in general. The midwest has several idioms that are connected with gambling. “Good deal!” for good. “Raw deal” for bad. “Don’t bet on it” expresses doubtfulness.

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