Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

one word you should avoid when you say thank you

What words and expressions do you use when you want to say thank you to someone in English?

Do you know if the words you are using are old fashioned and irrelevant?

Find out today.

We’ll start with a question from a listener:

Dear Lindsay and Michelle,

How is your day?

I am Meekun from Thailand. I am a regular listener of your podcast. The podcast is fun and ready to use in daily conversation. You have taught millions of listeners not only to improve their English but also how to connect with people. I truly believe connection is the huge word that helps people succeed in their life. Thank you so much for your excellent work.

Today I have a question to ask.

I use ” thank you, that was very kind of you or you are very kind” to express my appreciation when someone helped me. Instead, I got quite a bid funny look in return. I am not so sure if you could give me clarity when or how to use that expression or those expressions have been out of style.

Thank you  and best regards,



Good question!

When you use the phrase “you are very kind” you are probably saying what you have heard in old movies or what you learned in your textbook. 

I think they looked at you strange because the phrase might be a bit out of place.

It is not a terrible mistake to make, but it’s not modern and it might sound strange, especially to younger native speakers.

It also might depend on the situation.

What are you thanking them for?

Are you in a coffee shop?

If you buy a coffee and someone hands it to you and you say “you’re too kind” it’s way too much.

In your question you just said “when someone helped you” so it’s a bit vague and we don’t know what kind of situation you are talking about.

We are going to assume it’s a friend or neighbor doing something nice for you.



  • Someone volunteers to walk your dog while you’re sick.
  • Your roommate does your dirty dishes in the sink when you’re too busy.
  • Your friend helps you with your website for free.

These are not small gestures like holding a door for you.


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Old/out of style ways to say thank you:

  • “You’re too kind” This can be used today as a cute saying, but it is no longer used literally in the serious form that it used to be used perhaps in the 1950’s.
  • “You’re very kind”: This sounds like something a grandmother would say.
  • “That was very kind of you”

These expressions are very nice and thoughtful. We just don’t use them much now.


Better ways to say thank you:

  • “I really appreciate your help.”
  • “Thanks for this, thanks for that.”
  • “Thanks so much.”
  • “I can’t thank you enough.” (bigger situation- someone took care of your kid)
  • “I’d like to thank you for this.” or “I want to thank you.”
  • “Thanks a lot.”
  • “I don’t know how to thank you.” (this is when someone does something big for you, not handing you a coffee at the coffee shop)
  • “That was very nice of you.”
  • “That was so nice.”
  • “That was really sweet of you.”


What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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