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Is It Correct to Say “A Big Thank You”?

Phrases like “a big thank you” are a great way to add fluency and confidence to your speech. But sometimes, people are unsure how or when to add new phrases, the proper context for when to use them, or even the phrase’s meaning, so is it correct to say “A big thank you”?

The correct way to say “A big thank you” is as part of a larger sentence, such as “A big thank you to ____.” When we say “A big thank you,” we express our gratitude to a person or group of people for something they did. While “A big thank you” is a fragmented phrase, you can also say “Thanks,” “Thank you,” and similar phrases as an interjection.

In this article, we’ll go over in more detail the meaning of the phrase “a big thank you,” how to use it, and some questions you may have about the phrase. We’ll also go over some similar phrases that you can use in place of “a big thank you.” 

What Does “A Big Thank You” Mean? 

“A big thank you” is a fragmented phrase that people use to convey gratitude to someone, usually for a job or task well done. As indicated by the indefinite article, “a,” “thank you” functions as a noun modified by the adjective “big” (source). 

People commonly use this phrase in a large group setting to praise and recognize individuals or groups who have done a good job on a difficult task or provided something of value to the group.

Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “A Big Thank You”?

The phrase “a big thank you” is not grammatically correct on its own. While you can say “thank you” on its own and don’t need to add anything else, to use “a big thank you” correctly, you need to use it in a complete sentence. 

This is because “thank you” is an interjection, while “a big thank you” is a fragmented phrase (source). Interjections can function on their own, but fragment phrases cannot.

Correct (as a complete sentence)Thank you.
Incorrect (as a complete sentence)A big thank you.

How Do You Use “A Big Thank You”?

Again, it’s important to note that “a big thank you” is a fragmented phrase. This means that you cannot use it on its own but, instead, must use it as part of a larger sentence (source).

Implied subject pronoun + verbPhrase “a big thank you”Preposition + object pronoun
Let’s givea big thank youto Jenny
We would like to givea big thank youto Marco
We are going to givea big thank youto the sales team
We’re givinga big thank youto the whole office
I will givea big thank youto the person who made the brownies 
I would like to givea big thank youto all the parents
I am givinga big thank you to the team

This phrase is interesting because you can actually leave the beginning off when you say it in conversation, and others will still understand what you mean. So in that sense, it’s not technically grammatically correct to leave off the subject pronoun and the verb.

  • Let’s give a big thank you to Pam in sales for her work this week!
  • A big thank you to Pam in sales for her work this week!

Both are correct colloquially (i.e., in conversation). However, it will be essential to write the phrase in a complete sentence by adding the verb and subject pronoun.

Thank You, Thank You Card, Table, Plant, Pot, Modern
Image by athree23 via Pixabay

When Can You Use “A Big Thank You”?

You can probably guess from the examples above that the best time to use “a big thank you” is when you are trying to express gratitude to someone or a group of people for something they have done.

Typically, if you are using the phrase “a big thank you,” the thing someone has done that you are saying thanks for was particularly difficult in some way. For example, maybe the task took a long time to do, or they had to do it very urgently.

Example:

A big thank you to Jenny for getting everyone’s Christmas bonuses ready so quickly!

The task might also be something someone has done that is out of the ordinary for their usual tasks or in some way notable.

Example:

Let’s give a big thank you to everyone who stayed late to clean up last night.

The primary thing to note is that you are trying to draw attention to a task or activity that someone did to praise them for their work. It is a way to encourage people and let them know you recognize their hard work. 

Example:

I want to give a big thank you to the morale team for throwing such a great party this weekend.

The phrase is not just about saying “thanks” but also letting everyone else in the group know that the people you are praising have done something special. 

If you are interested in learning about how to use other stand-alone pleasantries and phrases, you can check out this article: “Is It Correct to Say ‘Happiest Birthday’?

In What Context Can You Use “A Big Thank You”?

There are a few essential contexts to consider when using “a big thank you.” For instance, the phrase is most common in professional or work-based settings because it typically works great to recognize work that someone performed well.

Although the phrase uses casual language, people most typically use it in more formal group settings. This is not exclusive to work settings, but it generally does not extend to intimate friend groups or family.

GoodLet’s give a big thank you to everyone who volunteered last night.
AwkwardLet’s give a big thank you to every friend who helped me this week.

Technically, both examples are grammatically correct. However, the second example is a very awkward thing to say to friends because it sounds very formal and “corporate” — not at all how people normally talk to their friends!

The second thing to consider is that we must use the phrase in a group context. You would not use this phrase when talking to only one individual because the point of the expression is to draw attention to someone’s hard work. 

If you are only talking to the one person you want to thank, you will not use a phrase designed to show recognition to a large group.

GoodLet’s give a big thank you to the marketing team for our new logo.
AwkwardI’d like to give a big thank you to you for your hard work.

Again, both examples are grammatically correct. However, the second sentence sounds too formal and awkward for a one-on-one conversation. Remember, it is best if you use this phrase when trying to get everyone in a group to recognize someone or a group of people’s hard work. 

Finally, there is hierarchy and pecking order to consider. While some contexts might be appropriate for subordinates to praise their bosses, this is a phrase most common for supervisors and bosses to use to recognize their employee’s work.

Though an employee can also use it to recognize their coworker’s work, an employee rarely recognizes and brings attention to the work of their boss. This would violate typical work relationships.

GoodI’d like to give a big thank you to all the employees for meeting their goals.
AwkwardLet’s give a big thank you to the bosses for their leadership. 

Once again, both examples are grammatically correct, but the second sentence is an awkward way to recognize good leadership and breaks social norms. 

Telling Someone Else That You Got a Big Thank You

What about if you want to let someone know your boss recognized you at work? You could say something like this: 

  • I got a big thank you from the boss for that report I did last week.

Let’s break that down a bit. First, unlike when you use the phrase to give someone recognition, there are no implied verb options for telling someone else that you got the credit. The other important thing to note is that the preposition will change to note the altered direction of who receives the thanks.

Subject pronoun + verbPhrase “a big thank you”Preposition + object pronoun
I gota big thank youfrom my boss

Whereas in the original phrase, the speaker gave the thanks, in this phrase, the speaker received it and is telling someone else about it.

Using “A Big Thank You” In a Full Sentence

We’ve already gone over when and where to use “a big thank you.” Let’s look at a few specific examples now to understand better how to use “a big thank you.”

  • A big thank you to all the bake sale volunteers!
  • I’d like to give a big thank you to Patty for the wonderful Christmas decorations.
  • Let’s give a big thank you to every volunteer who shoveled snow today.
  • We’d like to give a big thank you to our donors who made this event possible.

Below, we’ve provided a few more examples using the phrase when you are telling someone you received praise for your work.

  • I got a big thank you from my teacher in class for tutoring. 
  • I received a big thank you from the principal for leading the debate team. 
  • Our whole team got a big thank you from the boss for all the overtime we’ve been doing. 

You can also talk about someone else getting a big thank you. 

  • Johnny got a big thank you from his teacher today. 
  • Kate got a big thank you from the office yesterday. 

Many common phrases use “thank you.” To learn about other common expressions that use “thank you,” check out this article: “Is It Correct to Say ‘Thank You Both’?

When Not to Use “A Big Thank You”

There are a few important times where you might want to thank someone, but it is not appropriate to use the phrase “a big thank you.” The first is if you are speaking to your family or friends or another more intimate group. You should reserve “A big thank you” for more formal relationships. 

AwkwardLet’s give a big thank you to every friend who helped me this week.
BetterI’d like to thank all of you for helping me out this week. 

The second is if you are thanking an individual in a one-on-one conversation. It sounds too formal and removed and like you are making a big show. Remember, “a big thank you” is as much about letting other people know about the person’s hard work as it is about you thanking them.

AwkwardI’d like to give a big thank you to you for your hard work.
BetterThank you so much for your hard work. 

Finally, you want to be careful about using “a big thank you” to show gratitude to people above you in a work or professional setting. It can appear like you are trying to be their boss or are being snarky, which can land you in trouble.

AwkwardLet’s give a big thank you to the bosses for their leadership. 
BetterWe’d like to thank our bosses for all their leadership and support on this project. 

What Can You Use Instead of “A Big Thank You”?

If you are trying to show gratitude and draw attention to the hard work or effort that someone has done, you can use many great phrases besides “a big thank you” to convey those feelings. Let’s look at some examples.

  • Let’s give a round of applause to ________.
  • I’d like to recognize __________.
  • I’d like to praise ______.
  • Kudos to _____.
  • Let’s give a big bravo to _____.
  • I’d like to give a shout out to _____.

Synonyms for “Thank You”

What if you are just trying to say “thank you” to an individual, friend, or coworker? There are endless ways to say “thank you” that can spice up your language. Here are a few examples (source).

  • Thanks
  • Thanks a lot
  • Thanks a bunch
  • Thanks a heap
  • Thanks a million
  • Many thanks
  • Cheers
  • Danke
  • Merci
  • Gracias
  • Much obliged
  • Much appreciated

Sentence Fragments

Sentence fragments often sound like full sentences, but they do not have proper sentence structure with a subject and a predicate — what the sentence says about the subject (source). This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.

A proper sentence must also express a complete thought, which some sentences can do with only a subject and a verb. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a supervisor at a company, a teacher, or work in other large group settings, the phrase “a big thank you” is a very useful phrase to use when you want to recognize and praise good work from your group.

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Friday 21st of January 2022

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