20 different ways to say “thank you” in English


Everyday English Speaking Course

Hi students! This month we’ve been doing a series on different ways to say things in English, in order to help expand your vocabulary and know what to say in lots of situations.

In our previous lessons, we learned 20 different ways to say yes, 20 ways to say no, and 20 ways to say sorry. Today we’ll cover 20 ways to say thank you – phrases for expressing gratitude and appreciation. We’ll start out with some basic ones you probably already know, but keep watching so that you learn some new ones, OK?

And if you want to learn a lot more real English phrases, make sure to download my free e-book that will teach you 500 phrases that native speakers use often.

All right, let’s jump in to our “thank you” phrases.

“Thanks for… / Thank you for…”

First we have our basic “Thanks for / Thank you for…” and these are followed by a noun or by the ING form of the verb. For example:

  • Thank you for the gift.
  • Thank you for helping me.
  • Thanks for everything.
  • Thanks for stopping by.

Don’t make the mistake of saying “Thank you for help me” – if you’re going to use a verb, it needs to be in the -ING form.

“Thanks a lot.
Thank you so/very much.”

If you want to add extra emphasis, say “Thanks a lot” or “Thank you so much” or “Thank you very much.” Note that we can say “Thanks so much” but we never say “Thank you a lot.”

“Thanks a million!”

Thanks a million is an even more enthusiastic way to express gratitude. You can say this when you’re especially excited, or when the person really did something super great, like, “You’re giving me free tickets to the World Cup? Thanks a million!”

“Thanks in advance.”

We typically use this in writing, when we are asking someone to do something for us and we are thanking them ahead of time for doing it. If I’m asking a co-worker to do some research for me, I would say “Thanks in advance” to express gratitude for the work they will do for me.

“I really appreciate it.
I’m really grateful.”

Use these phrases to express how you feel. You can also add on the specific reason, like this:

  • “I really appreciate your patience.”
  • “I really appreciate your taking the time to explain things.”
  • “I’m really grateful for your friendship.”

“That’s very kind of you.”

We can say this when someone does something especially generous or something that shows they carefully thought about making us feel good. If I was sick and someone offered to cook dinner for me, I’d say “That’s very kind of you.”

“It meant a lot to me.”

We can say this when someone did something that strongly affected us emotionally, or was very important in our lives. For example, I might say this to a teacher who helped me a lot throughout college, or to a friend who helped comfort me after a bad breakup.

“I can’t thank you enough.”

We use this phrase when someone does something major, and we would like to say thank you over and over again! We’re expressing that it’s so major, it’s impossible to say thank you enough times. If someone rescued my dog when he fell into a river, I might say “I can’t thank you enough” because the person risked themselves and saved my dog’s life in an emergency.

“Words can’t express/describe how thankful I am.”

This is an even stronger version when you want to express extremely deep gratitude. Maybe you want to thank a friend who gave you a place to live when you were homeless, or thank someone who supported you when your parents died.

“I owe you one.”

This phrase is usually used when you’re thanking someone for a favor, and it means you want/need to do a favor for the other person in the future. If my friend spends all afternoon helping me move into a new apartment, I might say “I owe you one” – and I would help them when they need it. Or maybe I’d take them out to dinner to thank them for the favor.

“I couldn’t have done it without you.”

We can say this when someone helps us accomplish something, and we want to express that their help was essential in achieving the goal. If I was in medical school and it was really hard and I often wanted to give up, but my brother kept encouraging me and helped me keep going, when I graduate I could say “I couldn’t have done it without you” because his encouragement and support was essential.

“You’re the best! You’re awesome! You rock!”

Sometimes we say thank you by praising the other person and saying how great they are. These are all more informal; I’d probably use them with friends or relatives. If my husband saw I was having a bad day and bought me some fancy chocolate to help cheer me up, I would say, “You’re the best!”

“You made my day!
This made my day!”

When you say something made your day, it means it was the best part of your day, and that one good thing made the whole day good.

“I don’t know what to say!
Oh, you shouldn’t have!”

Sometimes people surprise you with a completely unexpected gift, favor, or even a surprise party. These are two phrases that are often used in response. Let’s say I’m going to be leaving a job, and my co-workers throw me a party to celebrate my time at the company and wish me well, I might react with “I don’t know what to say!”

The exclamation “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” isn’t saying that we wish they didn’t do it. Instead, it expresses the idea that they did something “extra special” that wasn’t an obligation.

Well, thank you so much for joining me! I hope you learned some new phrases from today’s video.

Again, to learn more, you can download a free e-book with 500+ real English phrases.

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