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Thank you is probably the most frequently used word in the UK. Britons pepper their speech with thank-yous so generously that the word has lost much of its meaning having turned into a sort of verbal smile, as in the following example, which is a typical dialogue between a cashier and a customer you’ll hear and get involved into a lot in this country.

– Do you need any bags?

– No, thanks.

– Would you like to pay in cash or by card?

– Card.

– Please insert it into the card reader and enter your PIN. Thank you. Here’s your receipt.

Thanks a lot.

– Have a lovely day! Bye-bye!

Thanks. You too. Bye!

It may sound ridiculous but, if you care what others think about you and your manners, you’d better overuse rather than underuse the magic word. Luckily, there’s actually more than one, so take your pick.

Thanks is slightly more informal than Thank you.

You look gorgeous in this dress. – Thanks, Liz.

To make Thank you or Thanks stronger, add very much after it.

Thank you very much for looking after my dog.

To make your thank-you sound even more emphatic, use so much.

Thank you so much for your help.

A simple thank-you doesn’t always seem enough. In this case we strengthen it with I really appreciate it or It was very kind of you.

Thanks for doing the shopping for me. I really appreciate it.

And then there’s the very British, very informal and very cheerful cheers, which can also double as goodbye.

Here’s your cup of tea. – Cheers.

Now, how do you respond to Thank you? Well, take your pick!

You’re welcome is familiar to any English learner and is a perfectly viable response, just don’t limit yourself to this one option.

To show you’re happy you were able to help, say You’re very welcome.

Thank you very much for doing the dishes. – You’re very welcome.

Very here also implies you’re willing to help in the future.

You’re more than welcome if even more emphatic.

Thank you so much for sorting it out for me. – You’re more than welcome.

My pleasure is similar in meaning to You’re very welcome.

The dinner was lovely, thank you. – My pleasure.

Often in response to your thank-you you’ll hear That’s all right or No worries said nonchalantly as if the speaker doesn’t really care, though they usually do (see above).

Thanks for the lift. – No worries.

At times we go even further and respond with the self-deprecating Don’t mention it. (Self-deprecation is an important part of being British. Bear that in mind if you aspire to, at least, sound like a Briton.)

Thanks a lot for your help. – Ah, don’t mention it!

And lastly, if you think you didn’t do as much as the person thanking you, you can return their thanks with the stressed you.

Thank you, Liz. – Thank YOU.

Thanks for reading and till next time!

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