Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

English Tip! How to Express your Gratitude in 4 Different Situations

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 @ 06:56 AM

how to say thank you in EnglishFor today's English tip I'm going to help you be a more interesting and dynamic English speaker!

Are you tired of saying "thank you" and "thanks" over and over again even though you know that sometimes it would be better to express your gratitude using different words?

Your vocabulary might be great, but it's time to make it even better!

A key to speaking great English is knowing how to use the right phrase at the right time to make the person feel appreciated.

In today's lesson, I will show you how to express gratitude in four different situations based on the level of formality and the importance of the favor that was done for you. Check out this lesson!




Scenario #1: Saying thank you to a store clerk


how to say thank you in English to store clerkYou are at Best Buy and the man who works there has just spent the last 20 minutes explaining to you the difference between an HD TV and a regular TV.

He has been generous with his time and patient with your English skills. You want to let him know that you appreciate his help.

This is a casual situation and since it is his job to help you, you don't need to overwhelm him with your expression of thanks.

Here are some things you can say:

  • "Thanks for your help."
  • "Thanks a lot, this has been very helpful."
  • "Thanks so much."
  • "Thanks."
  • "I appreciate your help. Thanks a lot."
  • "Great, thank you."



Scenario # 2: Saying thank you to a colleague


english tip saying thank you to colleague in EnglishYou just returned from a meeting and you notice that your colleague has left a Starbucks coffee on your desk.

What a nice gesture! You didn't even ask for it.

This colleague is at the same level as you in the company.

Here is what you can say:


  • "Wow, that's so nice of you."
  • "What a nice surprise."
  • "I didn't expect that, thanks a lot."
  • "You read my mind, thanks." (You are implying that he figured out that you were craving coffee)
  • "Thanks a million." (used more when you write a thank you note)
  • "Much appreciated" (used when you write a thank you note)



Scenario # 3: Saying thank you to your boss

English tips saying thank you to your bossYou have been struggling at work and your boss has been very kind and patient with you.

You have just finished a 30 minute one-to-one meeting with him.

During the meeting he gave you his undivided attention, was very supportive, and answered all your questions about the new project.

You are feeling grateful and you want to make sure that you show your respect.

Here is what you can say:

  • "Thank you for your time today." (By email or in person)
  • "I really appreciate your taking the time to meet with me today."
  • "Our meeting was very helpful. Thanks so much."



Scenario #4: Saying thank you to a close friend


how to say thank you to a good friend in EnglishYour close friend who lives in your new city allowed you and your family to stay at her apartment while you looked for a place to live.

You stayed in their place for two weeks. This is a big deal! You want to express your appreciation the right way.

Note: In this situation, you might want to give your friend a small gift and a note to say thank you when you move out of their home. Perhaps you can give them something from your home country.

Here's how to say thank you:

  • "You have been a lifesaver, thank you." (This means that you were really in need of help and she was there at the right time)
  • "I'm really thankful for your generosity."
  • "Thank you for everything you've done for us."
  • "I don't know how to thank you."
  • "I can't thank you enough."



Don't forget gestures, intonation, and eye contact

eye contactRemember that communication is not just verbal!

Now that you have learned a few new phrases, try to use them along with the appropriate gestures, tone of voice, and eye contact for the situation.

Don't forget- this varies across cultures! The right way to do this might be different in your home culture so observe the people around you.





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Photo credits: litratcher,storebukkebruse, Tulane Public Relations,   @boetter, syvwlch   the Italian voice

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