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The Language of Gratitude: Different Ways to Say Thank You!

Why learn different ways to say “Thank You”?

Expressing gratitude is an important part of everyday communication in many cultures. In English-speaking countries, you’ll need to say thank you in many situations if you want people to think you are well-educated and polite. Knowing several ways of expressing gratitude in English will help you make a good impression. However, if you use the same phrase each time, you’ll sound mechanical and insincere. On the other hand, when you fit your way of saying thank you to the specific situation, you will be perceived as truly authentic and genuine. Learning a varied vocabulary for this and other everyday situations is one of the best reasons to take an intensive English course or semi-intensive English course at any of the highly rated LANGUAGE ON locations.

November is a great time to study these many ways of saying thank you. In the United States and Canada, the Thanksgiving Day holiday is a celebration of gratitude. This holiday occurs on the 4th Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, it is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October. The most important tradition on this holiday is the gathering of family and friends for a feast. Typical foods include turkey and ham, with a sauce made of cranberries. Side dishes often include mashed potatoes with a gravy made from the turkey juices and savory spiced bread crumbs baked inside the turkey. The most popular desserts are pumpkin and sweet potato pies. After the meal, everyone might sit down to watch a football game, other sporting event, or a parade.

Saying Thank You in Casual Conversations

Saying Thank You in Casual Conversations

There are many ways to say “thank you” in casual conversations. Let’s look at some of these more informal ways to express gratitude:

“Thanks a lot”: This is a very common way to express a moderate level of gratitude. However, it is so overused that it doesn’t carry the feeling of the other choices below. When you use it, be sure to speak in a bright and cheerful tone of voice. If you use the wrong tone, this phrase can sound like a sarcastic expression of disappointment when another person’s actions are harmful rather than helpful. Taking an accent reduction course can help you master speaking English with the correct tone and feeling in any situation.

“Thanks a bunch” or “Thanks a million”: These are both very informal ways to express great appreciation to someone. While common, they do make your expression of gratitude a little stronger than “thanks a lot.”

“I owe you one”: Use this expression when you are grateful for someone’s help or assistance, and you want them to know that you will be willing to do something similar to aid them in their time of need. In other words, you won’t forget what they have done for you and you’ll return the favor someday. Example: “Thanks for taking care of my cat while I was on vacation! I owe you one!”

“You’re a lifesaver!”: It’s appropriate to say this to someone who has helped you get through a difficult situation. It doesn’t mean that the person has literally saved you from death, just that they got you out of a problem you couldn’t easily get yourself out of. Example: “Thanks for helping me move to my new apartment on such short notice. You’re a lifesaver!”

“You’re the best!” : This way of expressing gratitude makes it clear that you feel the person’s action is not an isolated case, but rather a demonstration of their overall greatness of character. Other ways of expressing gratitude for a person’s overall character are “You’re awesome” or “You’re an angel.” Example: “I really appreciate your tutoring me in time for the English exam. You’re the best!”

“I appreciate it” or “I appreciate you”: This is often heard in everyday conversation. As it’s so common, it needs to be said in a warm and enthusiastic tone of voice. It’s often combined with a simple “thank you.” Example: You leave a generous tip at a restaurant. The server might say: “Thank you! I appreciate it!”

Be Thankful in Formal Situations

people shaking hands and saying thank you

How to express gratitude in formal situations also depends on the context:

“I’m forever in your debt” and “I’m eternally grateful”: These are somewhat formal expressions of gratitude that could be used with friends, family and sometimes business associates. These expressions convey a feeling of deep appreciation for actions whose impact is lasting. Example: “I’m eternally grateful for your showing me around the city when I was a stranger here.”

“I would like to thank….”: This expression is usually used when talking to or writing for an audience of many people. It’s a way of showing gratitude to those who have helped you achieve a certain goal, such as writing a book, recording a song, or winning an award. Examples: At an awards presentation: “I would like to thank my producers and director for giving me this fantastic role.” Another expression used in this context would be “I couldn’t have done it without….” Example: In the first pages of a book, the author might write: “While writing this book, I was enthusiastically supported by my husband, children, and dogs. I couldn’t have done it without them!” In more formal writing, an expression with the word “acknowledge” is often used. Example: “I would like to acknowledge the support of my editor and personal assistant while preparing this book for publication.”

“I am much obliged”: This is a very formal way of saying “thank you”. It is especially appropriate in business communication. It becomes even stronger when you let the person know how you will follow through on this feeling of being obligated. Example: “I am much obliged for the quick repairs you made to our air conditioning system. I’ll be recommending you to all my contacts.”

It can also be used, very formally, to make a request or ask for a favor. Example: “We would be much obliged if you would return the completed contract by Friday.” The conditional form is used here as the gratitude is dependent on the recipients complying with the request.

Saying Thank You in Emails

When writing a “thank you” email, there are few basic rules to follow;

  • Look at any emails from the person or company. You’ll want to match the style of your thank-you email to the recipient’s communication style. Match the degree of formality to theirs as best you can.
  • Vary your vocabulary. Use some of the expressions above, taking into consideration the recipient’s style.
  • Be specific about what you are expressing gratitude for. For example, don’t write: “We appreciate your timely completion of our projects.” Instead, write something like “We appreciate your timely completion of our projects, such as the warehouse renovation”. Including details shows sincerity and genuine appreciation.

The business world is continually changing, including communication styles. If you’re active in the business world, taking a business English course is a great way to make sure your style of communicating is clear and up-to-date.

At the close of an email, we might want to thank the recipient for the time they have spent reading it. If the subject of the email has been a complaint or a suggestion, then a good way to end it is by writing “Thank you in advance for your attention” followed by your name. If the subject has been an application for a job, admission to a school, etc., you can close with “Thank you in advance for your consideration” followed by your name.

If you’ve had an in-person or virtual interview for a job, academic admission, etc., it’s considered good manners to send a brief email expressing your thanks for the interviewer’s time. Again, try to match the tone to the previous communication you’ve had with the business. If you’re not sure, a formal style is almost always a safe way to write.

Take an English course–You’ll thank yourself for your new English skills!
English is an amazing language that has many different ways to say thank you, and to express gratitude. When you can use these expressions at the right time and place, you’ll be on your way to becoming fluent in practical English. LANGUAGE ON offers a variety of courses that emphasize learning useful English in a supportive, student centered environment. Group intensive English courses and semi-intensive English courses are available, as well as specific options for private and semi-private classes. All course options at LANGUAGE ON are taught by experienced, well-trained instructors. We thank you in advance for your consideration of our programs!

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