Let’s play a little game.
I want you to count how many ways you can say thank you in different languages.
Go on, take out your fingers and start counting!
Merci. Arigato. Gracias. Kamsahamnida. Xie xie. Danke…
You might be surprised how many languages you can say thank you in, even if you don’t actually speak those languages.
It’s easy to understand why the words thank you are often among the first few words you learn in any language.
A simple thank you is the most basic form of politeness, recognized all over the world.
It’s amazing how those two words can open many doors, connecting you to people everywhere.
Often, there are different ways of saying thank you in one language. This is definitely true of the English language.
Today I’ll be showing you many interesting words and phrases you can use for expressing your thanks in English. But before that, let’s look at how you may choose to communicate your thanks.
How to Best Communicate Your Thanks
Thanking someone face-to-face is often considered the most sincere and personal way of communicating your gratitude (appreciation).
However, it’s not always possible to thank someone in person. Maybe it’s inconvenient to meet, or maybe they’re far away. Not to worry, though, there’s always the phone. While texting is also an option, calling someone to thank them directly will probably appear to be much more personal and sincere.
When dealing with official matters, such as after a job interview or a conversation with a company or business, it’s best to say thanks in writing, either in an email or letter. According to a survey reported in Business News Daily, sending a thank-you email within 24 hours of a job interview could increase your chances of getting the job.
When you receive a gift or invitation from someone, it’s always a nice personal gesture to send them a thank-you card with a hand-written message. The Today.com article “6 right ways to say thank you (in a note)” offers tips on how to write the perfect thank-you note.
Of course, mastering customs like this in a different language is always a little difficult. FluentU is a great tool to learn how native English speakers say “thank you” sincerely and in different situations.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Watch this cute cartoon to hear a couple of different ways to say “thank you” (both of which we’ll cover below). If you sign up for a FluentU account, you’ll get tons of extra learning features while you watch. For instance, you can click any word in the interactive subtitles for an instant definition. FluentU will also show you other videos that have the word, so you know how to use it in any context. Check out the full video library to learn ways to say “thank you” and much more just like native speakers do.
25 Ways to Say “Thank You” in English
Right, so let’s now look at 25 different ways to say thank you in English. After that, we’ll also look at five ways to respond when someone thanks you. Are you ready?
Thanking someone casually
The checkout clerk rings up your items at the grocery store. Your friend or co-worker hands you a cup of coffee or a sandwich. A random stranger gives you directions for getting to the nearest train station. What do you say?
Below is the simplest and most basic way of saying thanks. You can’t go wrong with this. It’s suitable for both casual and formal situations.
(1) Thank you.
Below is a shorter, more casual form of thank you that you could use with friends, family and peers.
To emphasize (stress) your thanks, you could say:
(3) Thanks so much.
With close friends and family, you could use this even more casual version:
(4) Thanks a million.
When someone has done you a favor
When someone does you a favor (helps you with something), they’re often not only willing to help but sometimes they may even offer to help without you asking. For example, you might request help with your class project from another student, or your neighbor might offer you a ride to the train station if it’s raining or snowing outside.
Here’s how you can thank them for their kindness and help:
(5) That’s very kind of you.
Or, if they made your day a little less unpleasant and more bearable (by keeping you from getting caught in the rain or snow, for example):
(6) You made my day.
Or, if you want to thank them for being such a wonderful and caring person:
(7) You’re awesome!
When someone does something unexpected for you
Has someone ever done something for you that you didn’t expect? Your brother who never cleans his own room offers to clean your house and do your errands after noticing how busy you are. Your friend drives 100 miles to visit and bring you a housewarming gift after you move to your new job in another city. Surely that would have you both surprised and grateful at the same time.
You could even be so surprised at someone’s thoughtful words or actions that you simply can’t find the words to thank them enough. In that case, you could say:
(8) I don’t know what to say!
Though you may be pleasantly surprised, you may also be feeling a little awkward or shy about someone having gone out of their way to be so thoughtful towards you in their words or actions. Here are a couple ways to express that feeling:
(9) Oh, you shouldn’t have!
(10) How thoughtful of you!
When someone has helped you achieve an important goal
Achieving success or an important goal isn’t always easy. Oftentimes, it’s the encouragement and support of people around you that push you to succeed. Maybe it’s your parents who have cheered you on, your friends who have been there for you or your team members who have put in their time and effort.
Here are some ways to thank those people who have played a part in your success:
(11) I couldn’t have done it without you.
(12) I really want to thank you for your help.
(13) I really appreciate everything you’ve done.
When someone has helped you through tough times
We all know what a relief it is when someone comes to your assistance during tough (bad) times. Whether you lost your job, were hit by a natural disaster (like an earthquake or flood) or had to deal with financial (money) issues, you’re grateful to people who reach out to help.
To tell them how much you value their support, you could say:
(14) I’m really grateful for your help.
(15) This means a lot to me.
(16) Thanks for having my back.
When someone has your back it means that person is there watching out for your well-being and supporting you.
This is the phrase you would use to thank someone you feel indebted to (feel you owe something) and hope to repay someday when you get the chance:
(17) I owe you one.
Thanking someone for something specific
To thank those who have shared their knowledge, wisdom and experience with you, you could say:
(18) Thank you for your guidance.
(19) Thanks for explaining this to me.
To thank someone for visiting your house, office, etc. to see you in person, you could say:
(20) Thank you for stopping by.
If you’re thanking someone for something specific that they’ve done for you, be sure to mention what it is so that they know exactly what you’re thanking them for.
For example, you could say:
(21) Thanks for [finding my dog].
Feel free to adapt this phrase to your needs.
Thanking someone formally
When you’re dealing with companies, businesses or official matters, you may want your message to sound more formal. To thank someone for responding to you, you could say:
(22) Thank you for contacting me.
(23) Thank you for your prompt reply.
You can also use formal words like appreciate and grateful to show your thanks. The word feedback is similar in meaning to “reply” or “response,” and assistance is a more formal word for “help.”
Here are some examples of how you could use those words:
(24) I appreciate your feedback.
(25) I’m grateful for your assistance.
How to respond when someone says “thank you”
Now that you’ve learned many ways to thank someone, what do you say when someone thanks you for something you’ve done for them?
While this is the most formal way to respond, it can also be used in casual situations:
In casual and less formal settings such as with friends, family or even strangers, you could say:
Don’t mention it.
Not at all.
If someone thanks you for a meal or a service, you could express that you’re pleased that you’ve had the opportunity to dine or work with them by saying:
It’s my pleasure.
With this long and varied list of English phrases and words in your vocabulary, you can now begin adapting them to your own use.
Whenever you come across other ways of saying thank you, be sure to take note and practice using them.
Thank you for reading this post and learning with me today!
By the way, you seem to be someone who cares about leaving the right impression – you should check out Creativa.
Creativa provides premium, highly produced videos for learning English and business communication skills. Creativa provides entertaining videos, useful but unexpected tips, and goes beyond just English to teach you body language, intonation and the correct words to use when writing an email or letter. Creativa is a new product from the FluentU team.
Here’s a sample video from Creativa’s Mastering Business Video Calls in English course, which has tips for expressing yourself effectively:
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:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.