Thanking You in So Many Ways

    20 December, 2019


    This week we answer a question from Thanh* in Vietnam, who writes, "How many ways can we say ‘thank you?'"

    Ask a Teacher
    Ask a Teacher


    Dear Thanh,

    This is a good question as we enter a season of holiday gift-giving in the United States. The verb thank means to tell someone that you are grateful for something they have done or given.


    The most common ways to say "thank you" are listed in order from more to less formal.

    Thank you for coming to the party. (formal)

    Thanks for calling me. (informal)


    You have probably noticed that there are many ways to show feelings of gratitude in English. One is to use the word "grateful" or "gratitude" to thank someone.

    We are grateful for your generosity in giving warm coats to the poor children.

    Please accept this gift as a sign of my gratitude.


    Another word you may hear when English speakers thank someone is appreciate.

    I really appreciate your explanation.

    Please accept this pin as a sign of our appreciation for your work.


    Finally, one more way to say thanks to someone is to use the word "obliged."

    I am much obliged to you for the help you've given me.

    Another way to say it very informally is

    I owe you one!

    Thanks very much to our fan, Thanh, in Vietnam for the excellent question!

    Do you have a question for the VOA English teachers? Please email us with your question. Our email is

    And that's Ask A Teacher.

    I'm Jill Robbins.

    Jill Robbins wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

    *Thanh has been listening to VOA for 30 years. Thank you for being a loyal listener!


    Words in This Story

    gratitude – n. a feeling of appreciation or thanks

    generosity n. the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish

    appreciatev. to be grateful for

    obligedadj. very grateful

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