Saying thank you can be difficult in English.
It’s not the words. (I mean, “thank you” — there. That was easy.)
It’s saying the right thing at the right time.
Today, I want to show you different ways to say thank you in English so you have exactly the phrases you need when you need them.
We’ll look at:
- Different ways to say thank you informally and more generally
- Different ways to show extra appreciation
- How to reply to thank you in English
Then you can thank me.
1. Different Ways to Say Thank You in English
I’ve decided to separate these phrases for “thank you” into two categories:
- The first is “definitely informal,” for when you’re hanging out with your friends in a cafe. Or by the canal. Or wherever you hang out with your friends.
- The second is “could be either formal or informal.” You can use these phrases with friends or even in most business situations.
“Cheers” actually has a lot of meanings, and one of them is “thanks.”
This is very British. It’s used to say thank you for small things — like when someone passes you the salt.
“Fancy a rice cake?”
“Oh, yeah. Cheers, pal.”
“Ta” is very British. (In fact, you can only really use this one in the UK.) You can use it to thank people for small things — it’s light and friendly.
“Hey. Here’s your pen back.”
Thanks a bunch!
This phrase is a little stronger than “Cheers!” and “Ta!”
If you want to show that you’re really thankful, but at the same time you want to keep things light, this is a good one.
“Wow! You fixed my bike! Thanks a bunch!”
But you can also use this phrase with the opposite meaning.
So, if someone does something that’s caused problems for you, then you can use this phrase sarcastically:
“What? You gave the kids coffee? Look at them … Thanks a bunch!
Thanks a million!
This is more or less the same as “thanks a bunch.”
You can use it sincerely (but lightly) or sarcastically.
“You’ll go get me a coffee? Thanks a million! Really. I just don’t have the time!”
“A £75 fine for a bill that’s one day late? Great. Thanks a million.”
Informal / Formal
Thanks so much. / Thank you so much.
Another classic. Like Casablanca. Or Fight Club.
I often add “really” at the beginning to make it stronger.
“Oh, and Laurie? Really, thanks so much for covering my shift at work.”
“Hey, Freya! Thank you so much for Alex’s birthday present. I’m sure he’ll love it!”
Thanks a lot.
This is a classic. But the classics are sometimes the best, right? I mean — look at Casablanca. Easily the best film set in World War II Morocco.
“Hey! Excuse me. You dropped your phone!”
“Oh! Thanks a lot!”
Remember that we can say “thanks a lot” but not “
thank you a lot.”
Another important point: You can use all of these with “for + -ing” or “for + noun” if you want to say why you’re thanking someone.
2. Phrases After Thank You – the ‘Thanks’ Extension
A lot of the time, just saying “thank you” isn’t enough.
Sometimes you feel really, really grateful, and you want to show that.
So when you feel particularly happy because of what someone has done for you, you can add an “extension” with one of these phrases. Use it after one of the “thank you” phrases above.
“You rule!” Such a nice thing to hear from someone.
But what do you rule?
Again — just so nice to hear from someone.
If someone helps you and you call them “awesome,” they’re more likely to help again, right?
You’re the best!
For some people, suggesting that someone is even better than your best friends and closest family might seem a bit too strong.
But don’t worry. This is just a phrase, and no one will think that you like them more than anyone else in the world.
They’ll just feel happy that they helped you!
I owe you one.
Sometimes when someone helps us out, we want them to know that we’re there to help them out, too.
That’s when this phrase will come in handy. It’s basically short for “I owe you a favour.”
(If I know that the person I’m talking to likes to have a drink, I often say, “I owe you a pint,” meaning a beer. This is how a lot of Brits like to show their thanks.)
OK. This doesn’t literally mean that you were touched by someone or something.
“Touched” as an adjective can often mean “emotionally affected.”
So when someone has done something for you that you really weren’t expecting, and it kind of makes you want to cry, you can go for this one.
Informal / Formal
You made my day.
Obviously you didn’t actually make my day. I mean — how does someone make a day?
This means “You made today fully happy, despite what else has happened today.”
That’s nice to hear, right?
I really appreciate it.
What better way to show your appreciation than by saying so directly?
I can’t thank you enough.
This one sounds quite strong, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s because it is.
Definitely not one to us for small things, like if someone’s just made you some toast.
This is for when you’re really, really, really grateful.
Thank you for taking the trouble to …
You know when someone does something for you, and you want to tell them that you understand that it wasn’t so easy for them, but they did it anyway?
That’s when you can use this phrase!
Remember to say what they took the trouble to do, though:
I don’t know what to say!
Again — this is one of the big ones.
This is similar to “I’m touched.”
Use it when you really are surprised and very, very, very grateful.
Oh, you shouldn’t have!
This is another classic.
Most of the time, we use this phrase when someone gives us a present.
It’s short for “You shouldn’t have bought me a present” — even though we’re usually fine with the present. It’s just a ridiculously indirect way of being polite.
Use this one when someone has done something more than they needed to — something that shows that they care.
(Don’t use this for routine tasks or when you’ve asked somebody to do something.)
“Flowers? For me? How thoughtful!”
I couldn’t have done it without you!
For those situations when you’ve achieved something, and you really want to show that someone’s help got you there.
You’ll hear this one a lot at award ceremonies like the Oscars.
3. How to Reply to Thank You
No worries! It’s OK. Everything’s good.
I use this one a lot. I like it because it keeps everything light and informal, which is just what you need sometimes.
No … Thank YOU!
This is like taking the thank you and giving it back to the other person.
I think in some cultures and some situations this might not be the most respectful thing, but in the right (friendly) environment, this can be just perfect.
The pronunciation is key for this.
Informal / Formal
The absolute classic!
You’ve probably been using this one for years now, so you might want to try out some of the other phrases for a while.
This one will still be here when you want to come back to it.
Here are some alternatives:
Don’t mention it.
Not at all!
That’s all right.
It’s my pleasure.
This one is a little like the others on this list, but don’t use it for simple things, like when someone thanks you for passing the salt.
Save this one for the bigger favours. Like when someone thanks you for driving them to the station. Or for building them that space ship they’ve always wanted so they can finally go and check out that restaurant on Saturn.
So there we are — 27 different ways to say thank you (and reply to thank you) in English.
In places like the UK, the US and Australia, it’s very, very common to thank people — even for the smallest things. We just like doing it.
In other cultures, it’s not so common, and people only thank each other when they’re especially grateful.
What about where you’re from?
Do people say thank you a lot in your country? Or is it something you only do on special situations?
Let me know in the comments! It’s great to hear about how things work around the world!
Dear Lisa and Gabriel,
Another great lesson!!! I really appreciate your work. Thanks a bunch.
Btw – do you still live in pLOVEdiv, Bulgaria? I grew up in this town and I’m going to visit friends and relatives in summer. Do you like Bulgaria, Plovdiv?
Anyway, бъдете здрави и до скоро!
Greetings from Italy, Lake Garda
Thanks so much for the positive feedback. It’s always good to know people are out there, enjoying our work and finding it useful.
And yes! We’re still in Plovdiv and totally loving being here. One of the world’s best kept secrets! Especially in the summer.
Hey this is really a great lesson for me thanks a lot.
Thanks so much for your huage efforts it helped me alots.
Thanks for the positive feedback. It’s great to hear that learners like you are benefiting from it.
What if someone says “Oh, thanks!” in reference to saying “But I’ll miss you for sure!”
What a specific question!
That’s probably up to you and your relationship with that person as well as they way they say it and the context they’re saying it.
There comes a point when what to say becomes less about language and more about more personal and human factors.
You’ve done it again. Brilliant! Thanks ever so much.
No. Thank YOU!
Hi, Gabriel! Thanks a lot for your enjoyable English lessons. I like your sense of humour and pleasant way of presenting grammar, vocabulary in real life situations. The pictures are great. You rule.?
In Bulgaria we often thank each other. It’s an easy way to make the day nicer.
Best wishes, Dessie
Thanks so much Dessie!
Yes, thanking people is a nice way to make the day go more smoothly. This might be something Brits and Bulgarians have in common. (We’re also very keen on apologising to everyone. About everything. All the time).
Thank you. This is very, very useful. Best wishes Marta
Glad you enjoyed it, Marta.
Thank you so much for your splendid lesson. I’ll try to make it known to more English learners around me. Looking forward to more great lessons from you. You star.
I’m glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing it around. I hope it can help out your friends, too. 🙂
I’ll just say that it’s really helpful, really appreciate your effort. Thank you.
Thanks for the positive feedback, Ankush. I’m glad it helped you. 🙂
me too! Thanks for the lesson!
It will be helpful to encourage and be encouraged altogether!
I’m English and surprised I didn’t know the finer details of saying thank you! Never really thought about the psychology behind a thank you. Interesting find, thank you!
No … Thank YOU! For the excellent comment.
I’m happy it made you think about language in a new way. 🙂
Awww!! very helpful… thank u much Gabriel for improving my language …
Really useful! Thanks a bunch..
Not at all! 😀
I must be grateful you for what you have done. This is the best gift from you.
Thanks dear for your kind consideration.
My pleasure! 🙂
Thanks a million !
Not at all! 🙂
Realy you are awesome mam.
Thanks a lot
Don’t make me blush! 🙂
thank you in hindi
shukriya , dhanyavad
Thanks for sharing!
They’re both very pleasing words. 🙂
thank you so much for this
im from hindustaan
we say shukriya or dhanyavad
that so awesome way to say thank you and reply back really helpful post for beginners Gabriel Clark
Thanks a lot.
Ta ! Ta! Ta! :))))))))))))))))))))))))))
You’re awesome 🙂
In our culture as same as yours, we say thank you A LOT. I’m Iranian.
Thanks a million for your work ! I am from China ,I am learning english by myself ,your summary about saying thank you is really helpful . In our culture ,we say thank you not as often as you ,especially between family members and good friends . but i think why not express the appreciate .
thanks a million!
And a star
In Denmark we return the thanks with saying: “Thanks, you too” or “Thanks, and likewise” or just “You too” or “Likewise”.
That’s probably why some Danes will say “same to you” as a reply to “thanks” which might strike as odd to native English speaking persons.
We also use the same phrase as when wishing a nice meal equivalent to “bon appetit” (in Danish “velbekomme” ) to return the thanks meaning “You’re welcome / don’t mention it”.
Thanking you so much!
Because, you are helping the people by presenting the great content in awesome manner, though you are getting the money
Thank you so much Gabriel. I’ve really benefited a lot . You are great and your books are amazing.
I now know what to say on my blog. I was feeling that the thank you on my comment section were getting out of control. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks a lot! It’s been a great help.
Your stuff is really awesome. Thankyou for sharing such nice article.
You are awesome!
someone special for me said me thanks for nothing. how to reply to it and how to know whether the person is saying it sarcastically or lovingly???
Thank you so much. It is beneficial.