There are loads of ways to say “thank you” in English, which can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. This is especially true as you try to figure out which expressions are the correct ones for any given situation.
The expression “thank you both” is correct to use when you wish to thank two people. In this expression, the word “thank” is the verb, and the word “you” is the subject, which the word “both” makes plural. The expression “Thank you both” may be used when sincerely thanking two people and in some cases can be used as a pleasantry.
Let’s now look at why we use the phrase “Thank you both” in relation to some other expressions which are similar, but not quite the same. We will examine why these similar expressions may not be grammatically correct and look at some additional ways to say “thanks.”
Why We Say, “Thank You Both” and Not “Thank Both You”
It’s important to remember that, in English, “thank you” is considered a phrase, a group of words that expresses a single idea. It’s the shortened version of the sentence, “I thank you” or “We thank you” (source).
You can use “thank you” in both the singular and the plural form. In the expressions “Thank you both,” we are dealing with the plural form.
- Singular: Thank you, Ben
- Plural: Thank you both
In this context, “thank” is the verb, and “you” is the subject. As a verb, “thank” must always be used with a subject unless it’s a directive. A directive in English refers to direct instruction or order, as in the examples below:
- Thank your teacher.
- Thank your coach.
It’s important to remember that, because “thank you” is a phrase, we must think of it as a single unit and be careful not to separate it into two words. Once we separate it, the words become two distinct entities, and their meaning changes.
In the expression “Thank you both,” “thank” is a verb, the subject is “you,” and the pronoun is “both.” The following examples illustrate alternatives that are either grammatically correct or incorrect:
It is correct to say:
- I thank both of you for coming to my party.
- Thank you both for coming to my party.
It is incorrect to say:
- Thank both you for coming to my party.
This last example is incorrect because you separate the phrase “thank you” by placing “both” in between the two words. “Thank” cannot function alone as a verb if it separate from “you.”
Why It’s Okay to Drop the “I”
In the above examples, we looked at two ways to use the phrase, “Thank you both.” We can say, “I thank both of you for coming to my party,” or we can simply say, “Thank you both for coming to my party.”
We’ve already discussed that the word “thank” is a verb as in “to thank” and needs a subject.
However, when we use the phrase “thank you,” we often leave out the subject “I” or “we.” It’s okay to drop the “I” or “we” because, while we omit them, we understand the implied subject.
For example, there is nothing grammatically incorrect about saying, “I thank you both for coming to my graduation ceremony.” It just sounds rather formal and unnatural, and you’d be unlikely to hear that phrase in conversation.
Most native English speakers choose to drop the “I” unless the situation is very formal such as if you are giving an address or are meeting someone important.
Native English speakers are more likely to say, “Thank you both,” as it is much more conversational and natural in tone.
“Thank You Both” vs. “Thanks to Both of You”
The phrases “Thank you both” and “Thanks to both of you” are correct ways to use the expression. In the latter phrase, the word “thanks” is a noun, which means that it can be separated from the subject “you.”
Other grammatically acceptable versions are:
- Thanks, both of you, for coming.
- Thanks to you both.
When to Use “Thank You Both”
In the English language, “both” refers to two people or two things regarded as connected. It can be a pronoun, determiner, or predeterminer, depending on its position and relation in the sentence. For example:
- “Both” as a pronoun: We can both speak English
- “Both” as a determiner: Both boys are playing soccer
- “Both” as predeterminer: I love both these books
In the context of the phrase, “Thank you both,” “both” is short for “both of you” and is used as a pronoun. When you say, “Thank you both,” you need to be sure that it is in the context of thanking or showing appreciation to two people, no more and no less.
However, the term “both” can also be applied when you are thanking one person for two things. An example of this would be:
- Thank you for both the cake and the card you gave me for my birthday.
However, bear in mind that this sentence changes the word “both” from a pronoun to a predeterminer.
How to Thank a Group of More than Two People
If you want to thank more than two people, as in a group, you can use the following expressions:
- Thank you all.
- Thank you, everyone.
- Thanks to each and every one of you.
- Thanks again to all of you.
Thank You Both: Comma or No Comma?
It’s unnecessary to use a comma when using the phrase “Thank you both” in most cases. Usually, we only use a comma if we include the person or people’s names in the vocative case, or direct address, as in the examples below (source).
- Thank you, Harry.
- Thank you, Harry and Sue.
We use a comma here because we want to create a separation between the name and the statement.
However, you may wish to use a comma if you want to place particular emphasis on the word “both.” Because a comma functions as a “pause,” this can draw attention to the word “both,” as illustrated in the following sentence:
- Thank you, both, for your hard work. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Sometimes the expression “Thank you both” is given a comma because the phrase “both” is regarded as a pronoun. Remember that pronouns replace nouns in a sentence. However, this is not commonly seen or done.
Different Ways to Say “Thank You”
Did you know that English has more than 30 different ways to say “thank you”? “Thank you both” is just one of the many ways.
We’ve drawn up a table to show you some of the other common expressions and the type of situations in which you could use them.
Thanks a lot.
Thanks so much.
Thanks a bunch.
|All of these phrases are useful in an informal and casual setting.||Thanks for dinner, mom. |
Thanks a bunch for coming over. Thanks so much for lending me your pen.
|You’re the best.|
|These two expressions are both informal and are great when talking to a friend.||I would never have figured out this math problem without your help. You’re the best!|
|I truly appreciate….||You can use this phrase in a formal setting such as at work or when talking to colleagues.||I truly appreciate your hard work on this project.|
|I don’t know what to say! That’s very kind.||These expressions can be used in informal settings, perhaps when you don’t know the person well or a stranger.||Let me help you with your shopping bags.That’s very kind of you.|
We received over one hundred thousand dollars in donations so far this month. I don’t know what to say!
|What would I do without you? I can’t thank you enough.||These expressions are for an informal setting with someone that you know very well, like your life partner or significant other (husband, wife, etc.)||We’ve been married for 20 years. What would I do without you? |
I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me.
|I’m eternally grateful.|
Words cannot describe how grateful I am.
Please accept my deepest thanks.
|These expressions are useful in a situation where maybe something sad has happened. For example, when someone has passed away or is leaving town.||Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the many happy years I had with my grandmother.|
I’m eternally grateful to have had a friend like you.
|Thank you for your consideration||This phrase is important to know for a formal setting in situations where you are applying for a job or a home loan||Here is my application. Thank you for your consideration.|
I am interested in your organization. Here is my resume. Thank you for your consideration.
“Thank you both” is one of many expressions that we can use to show our appreciation. It is a worthwhile expression to use if you want to thank two people in a relatively informal manner.
The expression “Thank you both” doesn’t usually require a comma, and there are variations on the phrase, including “Thanks to both of you.”