9 ways to say thank you in British and American English

Learn how to say thank you in English conversation – British and American.
You’ll see lots of examples of thanking in action and enjoy plenty of jokes along the way.

We’ll show you:

  • different ways to tell someone they’re nice
  • how to use the structure Thanks for -ing (with a gerund)
  • some formal phrases like I appreciate it and I’m grateful
  • some informal phrases like thanks cheers and ta
  • some ways to express your delight and say you love a gift
  • how to say thanks aren’t necessary
  • how to say you’ll repay someone
  • how to use the phrasal verb help out
  • how to exaggerate with phrases like You’re a lifesaver or You’re my hero.

Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

Click here to learn the difference between Thanks god and Thank god.

How to thank people in English

We have some very exciting news! We have a hundred thousand subscribers!

What a wonderful way to start the new year!

It’s so exciting and we want to say a big thank you to you all!

Or a hundred thousand thank yous to be precise!

Well, there are a lot of ways to say thank you. In fact, that’s what this video is about.

We’re looking at things we say to thank people today.

And also how to respond to thank you, because that can be tricky too.

Where shall we start?

Let’s have a story.

Hey, it’s looking good in here.

Yes, I’ve been getting the room ready for Kathy’s seminar.

You got all the chairs out.

Yes, I had to find eighteen of them.

And what’s this? Slides?

Yeah, I made a PowerPoint presentation for Kathy.

You’ve been working very hard.

Yep.

You must be tired. Have you had lunch yet?

No, I’ve got to tell Kathy the room’s ready.

I can do that for you. Why don’t you go and take a break? You deserve it.

Well, thank you very much. That’s very nice of you.

You’re welcome.

We saw a very common way to thank someone there.

What’s that? We say the person is nice.

Well, thank you very much. That’s very nice of you.

You’re welcome.

I expect you say something similar to this in your language too.

All over the world we thank people in similar ways. We’ll use different phrases in different languages, but the ideas behind the phrases are often the same. This idea is saying someone is nice.

Or kind or thoughtful or good.

Yes.

That’s very nice of you. That’s very kind of you. That’s very good of you. That’s very thoughtful of you.

I was very thoughtful to you in that story because I was caring for you.

Ah, but the story didn’t end there.

How did Kathy’s presentation go?

Oh very well. How was your lunch?

Great.

Hi!

Oh Kathy, how did you like the PowerPoint slides?

They were excellent.

Oh good.

Thanks for making them, Vicki.

I’m so glad you liked them.

And thanks for getting the room ready. It was great.

My pleasure.

It’s nice to work with someone who’s so helpful and supportive. I really appreciate it.

But I made the PowerPoint slides and I got the room ready.

Yeah, thanks for doing that.

You were mean to me again!

Things aren’t going to change just because we have a hundred thousand subscribers.

I was afraid of that.

OK. Notice Kathy said ‘I really appreciate it’. If you appreciate someone or something, you’re grateful.

We can also say ‘I’m grateful’, but grateful is a more formal word. You might hear it in a formal speech. Or you might see it in writing, like in an email. But it’s less common in spoken English.

Also did you notice this structure? Kathy said it several times.

Thanks for making them Vicki.

I’m so glad you liked them.

And thanks for getting the room ready. It was great.

So after ‘thanks for’ we use a gerund. A gerund is a noun form of a verb. Just add -ing to the verb to form the gerund.

It’s a very common structure.

Thank you for helping me. Thank you for listening Thanks for watching our videos And thanks for subscribing.

Now is there a difference between ‘thanks’ and ‘thank you’?

They mean the same thing. Thanks is a little more informal.

We often say thanks for small things. Like if you give me a dollar, I’ll say ‘thanks’, but if you give me 500 dollars, I’ll say ‘thank you very much’.

In British English we also say ‘cheers’ and it means the same as ‘thanks’. It’s informal and it’s for small things.

We say cheers when we’re drinking and making a toast in American English.

We do that in British English too, but cheers can also mean ‘thanks’ for us. And we can also say ‘ta’.

Ta?

Yes. Sometimes when parents are teaching their children to say thank you, they’ll teach them to say ta instead. Perhaps because it’s easier to say.

Ta. Ta. Ta. Ta. Ta?

OK, let’s look at another situation.

Happy birthday, Jay.

Oh, thank you. Oh, it’s a bow tie. Oh, thank you! I love it.

Oh I’m so glad you like it.

You didn’t like it?

No! But you did two things there that we often do. First you said ‘Oh’, so you expressed surprise and happiness. And then you said you loved it.

It was a great tie!

So if you receive a gift, you can say things like this.

Oh! I love it! Oh wow! It’s perfect! Oh my! It’s beautiful. It’s just what I wanted. It’s exactly what I wanted.

Let’s look at another one.

Happy birthday!

Yes, Happy Birthday!

Thank you. And presents! You didn’t have to get me presents!

You know, you’re right.

That’s how NOT to give someone a present. But did you notice what Kathy said? She said ‘You didn’t have to’.

So she’s saying that it wasn’t necessary to get her presents.

The idea is you didn’t have to do it, but you did it anyway, so you’re very generous.

Generous means you give gifts to help people, or to give them pleasure. If you say someone’s generous it’ a compliment.

And there’s another thing we say that’s similar. ‘You shouldn’t have’.

Oh wow! You’ve made some soup.

Yes.

You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble for me. Oh and some wine too. Are you having anything?

Often when we use ‘shouldn’t have’ it’s because we’re annoyed or angry.

Yes, like, ‘You shouldn’t have parked there. That’s my spot!’

‘You shouldn’t have eaten the cookies. They were mine’.

But that’s not what I meant there.

You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble for me.

The idea here is you’re saying I was too generous again.

Yes, it means it wasn’t necessary to do all that work, but you did and I’m grateful. The soups was terrific, by the way.

You’ve bought me a present? You shouldn’t have. You’ve made me a cake? You shouldn’t have.

So you can just say the phrase ‘You shouldn’t have’. You don’t need to complete the sentence.

There’s another thing that can happen when we thank people.

What’s that?

We offer to repay them somehow.

So what would you like to drink?

No, no. I’ll get them.

No, let me.

OK, thanks. I’ll have a gin and tonic. I’ll get the next one.

OK.

So this means I’ll buy the next drinks. Good. You’re offering to repay me.

Yes, the idea here is to pay people back.

Thanks so much for the loan. I’ll pay you back as soon as I can. Thanks for the ride home. Anytime you need a ride, just ask me. Thanks for your help. I owe you one.

‘I owe you one’. That’s an interesting phrase.

Yes. The word ‘one’ here means a favour – so something you do to help someone.

When we do people favours, we help them out.

Help them out – that’s a useful phrase.

Oh damn!

What?

I can’t remember where I saved this document.

Click ‘file’ and ‘save as’ and it’ll show you.

Oh thank you. You really helped me out a lot. This was an important document.

What is it? It’s a recipe for baked peanut butter and popcorn.

Urgh!

‘To help someone out’ is a phrasal verb. Its meaning is very similar ‘to help’.

We can use it when someone is in trouble or in a difficult situation and we help them get out of it.

Thank you! You really helped me out.

Now there’s another way we thank people that I think happens in some languages but not others. Let’s see an example.

Oh, can I give you a hand with that?

Thank you. You’re a star.

Sure. Where would you like it?

Over there.

So I said you’re a star here.

Like a movie star?

Yes. I mean you’re not really a star, but I was pretending you are.

So we say things that aren’t true.

We exaggerate.

OK.

Oh, are you going to the bank?

Yeah, and it’s pouring with rain.

I’ll give you a lift.

Oh thank you. You’re a life saver!

My pleasure.

You exaggerated again. You called me a life saver.

Yes, he didn’t really save my life. He just stopped me from getting wet.

But these are friendly ways to say thank you English. Someone will do us a small favour and we’ll exaggerate and say they’re a hero.

Thank you. You’re my hero! Thanks so much! You’re awesome! Thanks! You’re the best.

Do you say things like this in your language? I know it happens in some languages, but I’m not sure if it happens in all languages.

Well let’s see. Do you exaggerate like this when you’re saying thank you? Write and tell us in the comments.

OK, before we stop, we should look at some different ways to respond if someone says thank you to you.

We’ve seen some examples in this video.

Thank you. You’re a life saver! My pleasure.

My pleasure. So I was saying I was happy to help.

Yes. The idea here is you did it gladly.

My pleasure. Glad to help. Anytime! You’re welcome.

And another thing we sometimes do is say that thanks aren’t necessary.

I got you some water.

Oh thank you very much.

It was no trouble.

It was no trouble. It was nothing. Don’t mention it! Don’t worry about it. No worries. Not at all!

So if you say thank you and I say ‘not at all’ I mean ‘don’t thank me’.

So the idea here is that the thanks are unnecessary. And that’s it! Now you know lots of different ways to thank people in English.

And we have some important thank you’s to say now.

Oh yes.

We want to say thanks to all of you for watching our videos.

We’re thrilled to have hit the 100,000 milestone.

We really appreciate all your views and comments and subs.

Yes, cheers everyone. And many thanks to all the people who have made suggestions and translated transcripts for us.

You’re the best.

Our heroes.

You didn’t have to watch and subscribe but we’re really glad you did.

Bye now.

Bye-bye.

Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

Click here to learn the difference between Thanks god and Thank god.

2 thoughts on “9 ways to say thank you in British and American English

  • January 5, 2019 at 12:39 am
    Permalink

    Really like your lessons! Thanks a lot, the material is really helpful, you’re doing a great job!

    Reply
    • January 10, 2019 at 5:05 am
      Permalink

      Thanks so much Anton. So glad you like the videos and thanks for writing.

      Reply

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