Expressing gratitude and appreciation are amongst the most important functions of the English language. Language and culture go hand in hand so, it would be imprudent on our part to pretend that functions such as asking for things or saying no politely do not affect the way we look when we speak the language.
In all English speaking countries, but especially in the UK, people expect you to say Thank you; not only as a sign of gratitude but as a sign of courtesy and a common cultural understanding which pretty much says “This is what we do in the UK”. Being able to comfortably and naturally express your Thanks in a social context is essential if you are to acclimatize and stand your ground in modern day Britain.
So in today’s article, we will be looking at several different ways to express gratitude. Not, only is it Christmas, fingers crossed Santa Clause will give us plenty of reasons to be grateful, but also because sometimes it’s just nice to know that people appreciate what you do for them.
So bottom line, it’s nice to know how to be nice!
1. Thank you (very much/ so much).
This good old classic one can be applied pretty much to any social situation although at times it can be a bit on the formal side. It can equally be used in both spoken and written English with the emphasis being on expressing gratitude and appreciation. Adding very/so much makes the expression more polite is using when something quite significant has happened.
ie. Thank you for helping me with my assignment. I couldn’t have done it without you.
ie. Thank you for sending me that link.
2. Thanks! (very much/a lot)
Evidently, it is very similar to the above although slightly more on the informal side. You could use it quite easily at work – with colleagues – but I’d still use the formal Thank you with members of senior management.
3. You’ve saved my life/ I owe you one
Both of these expressions are quite informal and they are ways of expressing true gratitude when someone has helped you out in a challenging situation.
ie. Thanks for covering for me (at work). You saved my life that day!
ie. Thanks mate (= friend)! I owe you one.
Last but by no means least, Cheers is the most common way of saying Thank you in the UK. It is informal, friendly and above all British.
ie. – Can I have that pen please?
– Yeah! There you go!
– Cheers mate!
So whichever one you choose to use, just remember to say Thanks!
Think of the most frequent social encounters in you daily life and decide which expression to use in each one of them. That way you can be prepared and show that you have both manners and a good understanding of the English language and culture.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
At the coffee shop/restaurant: cheers, thanks
At the doctor:
With your employer:
With a friend:
With a teacher:
Have a lovely weekend!