There’s a common expression in English that says “variety is the spice of life.”
It means in order for things to be interesting, they need to be new, different and constantly changing.
But variety is also the spice of English speaking!
Repeating the same words, phrases and expressions over and over again can seem boring. In fact, it can sometimes make you sound like a robot!
That’s why in English, as in many other languages, it’s essential to learn new and different ways to say the same thing.
So, when someone thanks you for helping them, what do you usually say?
Is it “you’re welcome” or something else?
Either way, I’m sure that more often than not, you use the same reply. It’s sometimes an automatic response (like a habit!). While there’s nothing wrong with that, we should always have other words at our disposal (ready to use).
Imagine you hold the door open for ten people and give out 10 “you’re welcomes!” It would sound very funny indeed.
In this blog post, we’re going to talk all about how to say “you’re welcome” properly, plus many other phrases you can use to spice up your English vocabulary!
How Do We Use “You’re Welcome” in English?
“You’re Welcome” Is Part of Good Manners in English
As you might know, English is a very polite language with a long history of manners and customs (traditions). This is especially prominent (easily noticed) in British culture.
This is a type of polite behavior known as “etiquette.” It’s very important to use when interacting with other English speakers.
In fact, the English people are known for their politeness, so learning your manners in English is pretty important, and can help you sound like a native speaker.
So when exactly do people say you’re welcome?
Well, to get you started, be sure to check out the video below. It perfectly highlights when, how and in which way English speakers will use the phrase you’re welcome. In fact, if you want to sound more native, then in many cases you might not even say you’re welcome but a variation instead!
If you’re after even more insider tips and strategies to sound like a native English speaker, be sure to subscribe to the FluentU English YouTube channel for even more insightful content.
Responding to “Thank You”
In its simplest form, “you’re welcome” is used as a polite way to respond to a person who thanks you after you have helped them or complimented them.
“Hey, can I borrow your pen?”
“Yes, of course!”
As you can see, it’s a type of acknowledgment that tells the other person you’ve accepted their “thank you.”
(Rudely) Remind Someone That They Didn’t Thank You
Sometimes you’ll hear “you’re welcome” used when no one said “thank you.” This is a way to remind someone that they need to thank you or make fun of them for forgetting. But be careful—this should only be used as a joke between friends. Otherwise, it’s very rude.
John: “Hey, can I borrow your pen?”
Susan: “Of course!”
John forgot to say “thank you.”
Susan: “You’re welcome!”
The intonation in this context will be different, with a heavier emphasis on the welcome. Like I said earlier, you should only use “you’re welcome” like this with your good friends.
Invite Someone to Do Something
You’re welcome can also be used as a polite invitation. It’s a great way to invite somebody without a feeling of social pressure or sounding too demanding.
For example, maybe you’re going away on holiday and aren’t using your car. You know that your friend’s car stopped working, so you want to let them know they can use your car if they want to.
In this case, you’d say something like:
“You’re welcome to use my car while I’m on holiday.”
It’s also a very common sentence to hear when you’re at a friend’s house, and although you weren’t planning on staying for dinner, they’d like to invite you to stay for a meal.
“You’re welcome to stay for dinner if you’d like!”
Bragging About Something You Did
Sometimes it’s not uncommon to hear people use “you’re welcome” when they’re bragging (being very proud in an arrogant way) about an achievement or accomplishment.
Once again, you shouldn’t use “you’re welcome” in this way unless talking to your close friends or family.
Take a look at this clip from the movie “Moana,” where Dwayne Johnson sings the song “You’re Welcome.” Because he’s a demigod and created the oceans and the sun, he proudly sings throughout the song, “What can I say except you’re welcome!”
Take a look at another example below:
John: “Wow, this dinner looks amazing!”
Susan: “You’re welcome!”
It’s as if to say “no need to thank me, I already know how good I am!”
It’s often used in a situation that we call “tongue in cheek” (not serious) and can be quite funny if it’s done correctly (like in “Moana”).
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The Many Different Ways to Say “You’re Welcome” in English
As we discussed a little in the introduction, repetition in your language can seem boring, and some English phrases are commonly overused even by native speakers. That’s why it’s essential to learn different ways to say the same thing.
We’ve also looked at the many different ways that you’re welcome can be used, and its different meanings.
Due to this, many people are beginning to see “you’re welcome” as sometimes arrogant or outdated, and have chosen to use different words instead.
It’s also very important to mix things up depending on the situation, as you might be required to change your tone and word choice.
For example, you may need to consider:
- The level of formality in the situation (are you with friends and family, strangers or at work?)
- The size of the task or favor that you completed
- Your relationship with the individual
- The country that you’re in
Review formal English and informal rules to help you determine which expression to use best.
Here we’re going to look at some different ways to say you’re welcome both in the formal and informal categories.
How to Say “You’re Welcome” in Formal Situations
- My pleasure
- I’m happy to help
- I’m glad to help
- I’m happy to be of assistance
- Happy to be of service
- I’m sure you’d do the same for me
You might notice that many of the more formal variants of you’re welcome imply that some sort of service has been performed.
That’s because you’ll most commonly hear and use these expressions in places such as restaurants, banks, public buildings and other locations where there are individuals who are performing a specific job.
How to Say “You’re Welcome” in Informal Situations
- It was nothing
- No problem
- It’s no trouble
- Sure thing
- No worries
- Don’t worry about it
- Don’t mention it
- No big deal
You might notice that these are much shorter, and perhaps more commonly used in everyday interactions such as helping somebody on the street, lending an object to a friend and other daily interactions.
There’s generally a lot of crossover between these expressions. This is because nowadays, formal and informal English is becoming less distinct (different).
Are you feeling confident about how to say “you’re welcome” appropriately now?
If you can think of any other ways to say you’re welcome, then make a list and keep adding to it as you start to learn and hear more of these phrases.
So what are you waiting for? Challenge yourself to use some of these phrases more than “you’re welcome” to add variety to your English! You’ll be sounding more native in no time.
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
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