If the person is standing right in front of you, a courteous smile with “my pleasure” or “it's nothing” does the work. But in the virtual world I prefer using “most.
As you can see in the list above, there are many options to choose from, and they all differ based on the context.
I’ve jotted down a couple of ways to deal with informal and formal situations, so all of the heavy lifting is done! No more need to be a nervous wreck because you don’t know which response is appropriate.
Mostly you’ll find yourself in casual situations where there isn’t any pressure to respond professionally.
This is where you’ll also get a majority of your practice in talking and learning the language, because studying grammar in a textbook is a different beast compared to talking to somebody during rush hour in a train station.
Take for example, the following interaction:
You step off a train. The doors are closing. A guy comes running and shouts ‘hold the door!’
Heroically, you decide to help him. But sadly this breaks every bone in your hands.
Guy: “Hey man, thank you for keeping the doors open for me!”
Now here’s test number one. In a situation like this, it isn’t in a professional setting, nor is it related to business or academics. It’s an interaction that needs no fancy reply, or stiff, formal replies.
So you have a wide variety of options:
For now, we’ll go with “you’re welcome” since it’s the most common, reliable response to a thank you at any given time, any place.
Now that you’ve negotiated this tricky social encounter, you can walk to the hospital. Let’s just hope there are no buttons to press along the way.
When replying to thank you, another thank you is a completely viable option.
Take this example. A guy notices your hilarious T-shirt.
Guy: Hey man, nice shirt!
You: Thank you, stranger!
Guy: No, thank you! That joke made my day!
You: No thank YOU, that compliment made my day!
Guy: No, no no nononono my friend, thank you!”
Be cautious when matching thank yous, because a simple 3-second interaction could turn into a 5 minute thank-off.
Want to make people like you without having to really do anything?
Don’t we all?
It’s actually easy to do a small favor for someone and get their approval.
And once the favor is done and you get that coveted thank you…
You cock back…
Give a light smile, lean in and whisper…
Saying my pleasure gives the image of you enjoying the act of helping another person out.
Not only do you get to use a killer response to thank you, but you also score brownie points with that person, which may or may not lead to actual brownies in the future.
There’s an even more useful version of this below. Keep reading!
On the opposite side of the formality spectrum, you will be thanked a lot in professional settings as well, where the rules from the streets don’t apply.
Sincere, straight to the point replies are key here.
For example, you’re in a meeting with lots of executives.
Your Boss: Jim, thank you for your contributions to the team, I appreciate it very much.
You: You’re very welcome, boss! It was my pleasure!
See? Nothing too fancy or complicated, because in formal situations, simplicity and respect are majorly important. Avoiding slang is also important, because slang is best suited for the everyday casual interaction, not a meeting with an important label executive.
Let’s see how that could’ve gone if there wasn’t any respect, or if you used slang at the wrong time:
Your Boss: Jim, thank you for your contributions to the team, I appreciate it very much.
You, craving an unemployment check in the mail: No biggie, bro. That’s how I roll, you feel me?
Your Boss after security arrives: Get him out of here!
It’s always safe to say ‘you’re welcome’, but in the opinion of one of my favorite authors, Robert Cialdini, it’s a missed opportunity.
Here’s what he recommends you say instead:
I know you’d do the same for me.
The genius of this phrase is threefold:
Then the next time you need help, this person is more likely to offer!
The best response to a thank you is ‘you’re welcome’, which fits every occasion.
To respond to a thank you from your boss, say:
You should respond to a thank you email. It can strengthen your relationship. Just keep the message brief.
It is not rude to say you’re welcome. It’s one of the most polite phrases in English!
So there you have it! Replying to thank you can be hard if you don’t understand the nuances of how and why to reply in different ways.
But that’s a thing of the past now. I’ve armed you with the knowledge of how to kill it when replying, now go out there and get thanked so you can get some practice in!
In common conversation in the US Midwest I rarely hear "Not at all" or "Don't mention it." "No problem" is very common, and "You're welcome" is.
The word sure is sometimes used to respond to Thank you. Saying sure in response to thank you is very informal. It is a replacement for the more standard You’re welcome and means much the same as the more formal response certainly.
Sure it is sometimes combined with other responses such as:
This is a confusing response to those learning English, but it basically means “of course I don’t mind helping you.”
“Thanks for your help earlier,” said Chris. “Sure,” replied Seth.
“Thanks a million for fixing my computer again,” said Clark. “Sure, no problem at all,” replied Paige.
The following video covers eight standard English idiom responses to thank you.
More Idioms Starting with S
More Sure Idioms
More Thank You Responses Idioms
Letters of appreciation from customers, colleagues and business associates can be used as a stepping stone to improve customer relations or enhance an existing relationship. While you don't want to get into an ongoing cycle of sending a thank you note for a thank you note in which all you reply is "thanks" and "you're welcome," there are ways to make the most of this exchange.
If someone thanks you for your time, compliments your product or service or otherwise has something good to say about your company, acknowledge your fan's appreciation with a return message.
Example: Thank you for taking time to recognize the superior service you received from our sales associate, Jane Dell. Your letter of thanks will be recorded in Jane’s employee file and she will be acknowledged at our next employee staff meeting.
Example: Thank you for your kind letter of gratitude regarding the completion of your interior redecoration. We hope you will consider us again in the future for your decorating needs.
The timing of your response should be in-line with whatever internal standards you have for replying to customer queries. If you get back to customer emails in 24 hours, do the same with responding to a letter of thanks.
If someone writes to thank you for an estimate, a product sample or as a follow-up to a consultation, use the opening to take your business relationship to the next level.
Example: I'm happy to hear you received the sample of our new green cleaning products. I'd be happy to arrange a time to come to your business and provide an estimate of quantities needed for your internal cleaning staff.
Example: I'm glad to hear you received our estimate for your construction project, and that the estimate meets with your board’s financial needs. I would like to arrange a time to meet and discuss a timetable for moving forward with more concrete development plans.
In this instance, the thank you letter you receive is part of an ongoing business deal and should be followed-up on right away.
If someone shows appreciation for a product or service, encourage repeat business by offering a freebie or incentive to prompt her to visit you again.
Example: I'm delighted to hear that the catering of your father's retirement party was so well received. Enclosed, please find a gift certificate for $100 off your next party or event.
Example: We were pleased to learn that your automotive repair experience was a pleasant one. Enclosed, please find two free oil change coupons as well as a service coupon to give to a family member or friend. Have him mention your name and we’ll send you a gift card for a free wash and wax on your next visit.
Replies used as marketing tools should be prioritized and sent as soon as possible, just as you would promptly return a call requesting information or to schedule an appointment.
When you do a favor, and someone says “thank you,” the automatic response is “ you're welcome.” It's a basic rule of politeness, and it signals.
[Subject: Normally bold, summarizes the intention of the letter] -Optional-
Dear [Recipients Name],
I was pleased to see that you provided such a quick response to the application I sent in. You may know that searching out a new job can often be a sad time, especially when you get no acknowledgment that anyone is taking note of your application.
I recognize that you do not have any open positions at the moment with your firm but would ask that if any positions do open up shortly that you bear me in mind. I thank you again for taking the time to respond to my initial application and would love to have the opportunity to work for you shortly.
[Senders Title] -Optional-
[Enclosures: number] - Optional -
cc: [Name of copy recipient] - Optional -
Further things to consider when writing thank you letters to management
Thank-you letters are letters written to politely acknowledge a gift, service, compliment or an offer. Simply put, these are letters you write to express your gratitude and appreciation for someone's thoughtful actions. You can send a thank-you letter after personal events, an interview, networking events, after receiving a gift or donation, etc. A thank-you letter is always special in that it lets the recipient know that what he/she did was greatly valued and appreciated. The letter should be sent promptly and when the events are still fresh so that it can be more meaningful.
Thank-you letters should be warm, personal, and sincere. Begin with the two magical words "Thank you," and address the recipient in a way that feels most natural. Be clear about what you are thanking the person for. Let the recipient know why his/her specific gift or actions are cherished and why they are important to you. Inquire after the recipient's well-being and share some information about your life. Let him/her know that you are thinking about him/her and mention the next time you may want to meet. To wrap things up, thank the recipient again and let him/her know that you value his/her friendship.
Letters to management are letters written to the personnel or department that controls and makes decisions for a company or organization. These could be job application letters to apply for jobs, complaint letters to raise complaints, inquiry letters to request information, etc. Under all circumstances, all letters written to the management should be formal, contain all the necessary information, and free of grammatical errors. They must also be typed in a legible and professional font. Make sure not to include any sensitive information especially when the letter is not addressed to a specific person.
Before writing letters to management, you need to think about what you want to achieve and exactly who you are writing to. Use proper address and salutation. If you do not have an existing relationship with the recipient, introduce yourself in the first paragraph. Start with the most important information and go directly to the point. Keep it brief. However, if your letter is relatively lengthy, break it into short paragraphs. If there are any attachments, make sure to mention that in the letter and give a brief description of what they are. Finish with an expression of appreciation and give your contact details.
You're welcome. No problem. No worries. Don't mention it. My pleasure. Anytime. It was the least I could do. Glad to help. Sure! Thank you. (use this when you.