Life skills tip of the week: ways of saying thank you

Posted by on April 29, 2014

Macmillan Life Skills: language is a life skillAs part of this year’s pragmatics series, we bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself.

The previous language tip looked at ways of apologizing.

This week’s tip gives some ways of thanking someone:

Thanks and Thank you are the most usual ways of telling someone you are grateful for something they have said or done. Thank you is slightly more formal.

If you want to emphasize your gratitude, or be very polite, you can say Thanks a lot, Thanks very much, Thank you very much, or Thank you so much:
Thank you for your kind words.
‘You’re looking well.’ ‘Thanks.’
Thanks for dinner – it was great.
Thanks a lot for all your help.
Thanks very much for looking after the kids.

Thanks a bunch is an informal way of thanking someone, but is often used sarcastically, when telling someone that something they did was not helpful or kind. Both Thanks a lot and Thanks very much can also be used in this way:
You told Tony what I said? Thanks a bunch!
Thanks a lot for spoiling my evening.

Much obliged is a very formal way of thanking someone for something they have done for you:
I am much obliged to you for your patience during the recent difficulties.

You’ve saved my life and I owe you one are informal ways of thanking someone who has helped you in a difficult situation. Cheers is another informal way of thanking someone, used in British English:
Thanks for the lift. You saved my life.
Thanks a million. I owe you one.
‘Here’s that book you wanted to borrow.’ ‘Oh, cheers.

You shouldn’t (have) is used when someone gives you a present:
Oh, Martin, what lovely flowers. You shouldn’t have!

You’re too kind is a polite way of thanking someone that can sound insincere:
Thank you for saying that. You’re too kind.

I’d like to thank… is used when thanking people in a formal speech:
I’d like to thank everyone for coming along and supporting us today.

Many thanks is a formal way of saying thank you used in letters and emails:
Many thanks for the lovely present.

Would you like to learn more about pragmatics? Keep a close eye on our pragmatics page where the third of our life skills lesson plans was published last week. For more information about Life Skills, visit the Macmillan Life Skills page.

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