Howard has had a long-time interest in vocabulary, diction and grammar.
How to thank someone is one of the first things we learn in a new language. There are many times throughout our day when it's appropriate to express gratitude.
New English speakers can easily get confused because they've heard that "thank you" and "thanks" are both right. This could lead to someone combining the two and saying "thanks you." But is this correct?
No. "Thanks you" isn't grammatically correct, and it also sounds wrong to a native English speaker.
If you've been saying it this way or if you make this mistake in the future, it's nothing to feel bad about. A person will still understand you if you say it like that! But, of course, you're trying to learn how to use English words and phrases properly. We'll look at some examples so the terms will be set in your mind.
"Thank You" or "Thanks"?
Most of the time, when you want to thank someone, you'll say "thank you" or "thanks". It's correct to say either of these in many situations:
- If someone hands you something.
- If you're given a compliment.
- If someone holds a door for you.
- If you're offered a seat.
- If you're given any kind of help.
Saying "thanks" is more casual than saying "thank you". So if you're expressing gratitude for something bigger or you're in a more formal setting, "thank you" will sound more appropriate.
Here are some examples of when "thank you" would sound better:
- If someone returned a valuable item that you lost, like your wallet or purse.
- If someone spent a long time helping you.
- If you're given a gift.
- If you're talking to an authority figure.
These are general examples. There aren't strict rules for when to say "thanks" and when to say "thank you". Usually, either of them sounds fine. If you're not sure, you can't go wrong with saying "thank you".
Can You Ever Say "Thanks You"?
Not on its own. "Thanks you" isn't an expression. But there are times when those two words can be next to each other in a sentence. For example, if you were saying "thank you" for someone else you could say:
1. Mary thanks you for the help.
The more common way to say this is:
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2. Mary says "thank you" for the help.
Both of these sentences mean the same thing. If you were saying "thank you", the examples would look like this:
1. I thank you for the help.
2. Thank you for the help.
Both of these are correct, but people don't usually word it like in the first examples. Those ones sound overly formal and precise.
In the first example, "thanks" and "thank" are the verbs. In the second example, "says" is the only verb. You don't have to make a point of remembering this difference if you don't want to. There's never a time when someone would expect you to say it like in the first examples.
Is it Correct to Say "Thanks to You"?
If you're trying to express your thanks to someone then no, you wouldn't say "thanks to you". It doesn't mean the same thing as "thank you" or "thanks".
When could you say "thanks to you"? This expression means that you're giving credit to someone or acknowledging their help. It's like saying "because of you" or "because of your help". For example:
Thanks to you, I'll be able to finish my work on time.
Everything went well, thanks to you.
Using "thanks to you" is like saying "thank you" or "thanks" in an indirect way. Notice in the two examples above, you're acknowledging that the person deserves thanks for what they did.
Keep Things Simple
If you're having any trouble keeping these straight, you can just stick to "thank you" until you get more experience. This expression works all the time. For example, the last two example sentences above could be said like this:
I'll be able to finish my work on time. Thank you.
Everything went well. Thank you.
So, pay attention to how English speakers use different expressions of thanks. You'll get used to them after a while.
In the meantime, try not to worry about whether you're always using the right words. The listener will understand the meaning of what you're saying anyway.