Thanks Vs Thank You? Which One Should You Use?

On a daily basis, we have to interact with bosses, friends, family, partners, and others. During these interactions, we use manners such as “thank you”. However, how can you properly say thank you to the person you’re speaking with? Is it thanks or thank you?

The difference between thanks and thank you is the formality. The word thanks is very informal, therefore you should not use it around strangers. With people you are comfortable with, you can use thanks. If you are in a formal environment or speaking to a stranger, it’s better to use thank you so you can come off as more polite.

The rest of this article will cover when to use thanks, when to use thank you, and other ways to thank people.

When To Use Thanks

Informal environments are the best for the use of the word thanks. Many consider thanks a slang word, therefore you should keep in mind who you’re speaking to when you’re saying it. It’s best to use it around family members, friends, or partners.

However, if you are working in a casual environment, you can use thanks around your colleagues and bosses. If you are on good terms with your boss, you can use it. It depends on your relationship with the person.

If you say thanks to a boss you aren’t close with, it won’t get you fired, but it may come off as impolite. You should stick to using more formal thank you methods if you are speaking with people you don’t know well.

Determining when you get close enough to someone to use informal language can be difficult. The best way to determine it is by asking the person if they mind if you use informal language around them. Along with that, if they use informal language around you, you can do the same with them.

When To Use Thank You

Formal environments are the best for the use of the expression thank you. It’s more polite since it includes the subject you are thanking. Although it’s just one extra word, it makes a difference albeit small.

For example, if you’re signing off an email, it’s more polite to sign it by saying thank you rather than thanks. Saying thank you feels more personal and genuine because of the use of the subject.

Imagine you are at a restaurant and the waitress just dropped food off at your table. If you say thank you to her, it’s considered polite and humble. However, imagine saying thanks to her instead. It feels off because she’s a stranger.

In situations where you are dealing with strangers, thank you is better.

Other Ways To Thank People

Outside of saying thanks and thank you, there are other ways to express your gratitude to people. Here are a few examples of formal ways to say thank you: I appreciate it, thank you very much, and thank you for your time.

Here are a few examples of informal ways to say thank you:

  • cheers
  • much appreciated
  • thanks so much