How to Say Thank You in English


Thanksgiving Day falls next week in the USA on November 27. This important national holiday was first celebrated to give thanks for the blessing of the harvest.

The holiday of Thanksgiving serves as a time to reflect and take stock of all the positive things in life, like turkey and parades!

With this in mind, in this installment of ‘How To’, we are going to look at how to say ‘thank you’ in English so that you will be able to give thanks correctly on Thanksgiving Day, and every other day in the future!

Thank you, thanks – the most common ways of telling someone that you are grateful for something they have said or done

Informal phrases

Thanks a lot/thanks a bunch/thanks a million – if you want to emphasize or quantify your gratitude, you can use these expressions

Beware of tone when using these phrases, as they could be taken sarcastically.
For example: “Thanks a lot for spoiling my evening”

Ta, ta very much – this expression dates from the 18th century, now it is a common colloquial way of saying thank you in the UK.

Cheers – originally a friendly way of expressing good wishes before drinking, now ‘cheers’ is a frequently used informal way of expressing gratitude in the UK. For example:

“I’ve bought you a ticket for the show.”
“Cheers mate!”

I owe you one – this is used to thank someone who has helped you, as a way of saying that you will do something to help them in the future.

“Thank you for listening to me, I owe you one.”

An I.O.U. is an informal document written to acknowledge a debt to someone.


Thank you very much, thank you so much – a way of emphasizing or quantifying your gratitude formally. For example:

“Thank you very much for your help with my English homework”

Much obliged – ‘obliged’ is an adjective, which means grateful when used in the structure below:

“Here is the cup of tea you ordered”
“Oh, (I’m) much obliged (to you)”

You shouldn’t have! – to say thank you when someone has given you a present, perhaps unexpectedly:

“Oh Steve, what a lovely necklace. You shouldn’t have!”

Many thanks – a formal way of expressing gratitude commonly used in emails or letters, can also be used to sign off emails:

“Many thanks for your email.”
“Many thanks, Claire”

I would/I’d like to thank… used to express gratitude to specific people in formal speeches; you may recognize this from acceptance speeches by celebrities at award ceremonies.

“Thank you for this award. I’d like to thank my fans, my family, my friends ... I couldn’t have done it without you guys!”

Did you know?
During the Oscars in 2013, ‘I’d like to thank’ was said 225 times!

In potentially the most emotional acceptance speech in Oscars history, here Gwyneth Paltrow attempts to give thanks for her award. Hopefully with the help of our handy How To, saying thank you in English will be easier for you!

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