Throughout an average day, many instances can inspire you to express gratitude. But what is the best way to do so?
It is grammatically correct to say “thanks a ton,” though it is less common than other expressions of gratitude, and many consider “thanks a ton” less formal as well. When we use the phrase “thanks a ton,” we typically do so verbally and in informal situations.
This article will explore the phrase “thanks a ton,” the implications of using it, and some alternative ways that you can express gratitude.
What Does “Thanks a Ton” Mean?
If you say “Thanks a ton,” you are expressing that you are extremely grateful to someone and that they did you a great service by helping you in some capacity.
The various expressions of gratitude can help convey different depths of appreciation. For smaller tasks or simple help, “thanks” will suffice. But for a huge favor, we might say “thanks a ton” or “thank you so much.”
When we use the phrase “thanks a ton,” we also convey an informal and friendly tone toward the person we are speaking with. As a result, the broader implication of the phrase is that someone gave you a significant amount of help and that you feel friendly and comfortable with that person.
Is It Thanks a Tonne or Ton?
The correct spelling is “ton” in American English, so we write it as “thanks a ton.” You would not use “tonne,” as it refers to a metric tonne. The phrase “thanks a tonne” is not common in countries that use the metric system.
In American English, we often use the word “ton” more generally to indicate a large amount of something, but we also use “ton” to refer to a specific unit of measurement.
In the United States and Canada, the English system of measurement is the dominant measuring system. According to the English system, one “ton” is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Comparatively, according to the metric system, a “tonne” is equal to 2,204.6 pounds, or 1,000 kilograms (source).
The word “tonne,” on the other hand, specifically refers to a metric unit of measurement, and we usually only use this word to refer to a metric tonne. When you want to use “ton” to mean “a lot,” you need to write it out as “ton.”
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Thanks a Ton”?
There is nothing wrong with saying “thanks a ton,” and it is grammatically correct — even if we wouldn’t use it as frequently as other expressions of gratitude. However, it is not really a complete sentence, so keep that in mind.
“Thank you” and “thanks” are both interjections, which can stand alone even though they are not complete sentences. A complete sentence needs a subject, a verb, and a complete thought, but interjections do not have all three of these attributes.
Regardless, interjections can stand alone because of their interruptive function. We really only use interjections while speaking or while writing dialogue.
The phrase “thanks a ton” uses the interjection “thanks” with the article “a” following and the noun “ton.” The phrase “thanks a ton” is comparable to the phrases “thanks a bunch” and “thanks a million.” Therefore, each of these phrases is grammatically correct.
In What Context Can You Use “Thanks a Ton”?
It is most appropriate to use the phrase “thanks a ton” when you are speaking with a close friend, family member, or someone you know well. “Thanks” is the informal version of “thank you,” so we would interpret “thanks a ton” informally as well.
We use informal language in informal settings with people close to us. Here are some examples of different social contexts where it would be appropriate to say “thanks a ton.”
A coworker you’ve worked with for the past year offers to help you with your late paperwork, so you reply with, “Thanks a ton!”
A family member offers to drop you off at the airport for your upcoming trip, so you reply with, “Thanks a ton!”
Your friend gives you two free tickets to a concert that they can’t attend, so you reply with, “Thanks a ton!”
When Can You Use “Thanks a Ton”?
You can use the phrase “thanks a ton” when speaking with someone you know well or when writing a casual note or email to a friend.
People will say “thanks a ton” in informal settings, but they will usually avoid writing it out since written communication tends to be more formal.
When using this phrase in verbal circumstances, there are some different ways that you can incorporate it into your speech. Most importantly, you want to speak directly to the person you intend to thank.
With the phrase “thanks a ton,” there is no direct reference to the person you are thanking, so you need to be sure that you are clearly directing this phrase at your intended recipient.
Next, we’ll look at some different ways to incorporate “thanks a ton” into your sentence structure.
How Do You Use “Thanks a Ton”?
You can use the phrase “thanks a ton” in a full sentence or alone as an interjection. Whether you use the phrase within a larger sentence or on its own, it often follows an exchange that specifies what a person did and for whom.
The best way to include this phrase in a full sentence is beginning with “thanks a ton,” completing the sentence by adding “for” and stating what they did for you.
As we’ve mentioned above, the phrase alone does not have a direct address or clear person someone directs the thank you toward. Because of this, the surrounding words need to provide a clear context for your thanks.
Using “Thanks a Ton” in a Full Sentence
To use “thanks a ton” in a full sentence, you will want to incorporate the reasoning for your thanks by adding “for” and following it with additional information or the reason for your gratitude.
You’ll want to look at some examples that demonstrate properly incorporating the phrase. Let’s review the four examples below to examine how “thanks a ton” can appear in a full sentence.
In this first example, you would use the phrase as a single thought, following a description of what Person A is thanking Person B for doing.
Person A: Wow, you really helped me out by taking care of all that laundry this morning. Thanks a ton!
Person B: You’re welcome!
The next three examples illustrate how you can formulate a full sentence by beginning with the phrase “thanks a ton.”
- Thanks a ton for doing the dishes!
- Thanks a ton for picking me up from work.
- Thanks a ton for helping me with this important decision.
When Not to Use a “Thanks a Ton”
“Thanks a ton” is less appropriate for formal exchanges and in writing. Generally, these are the two main circumstances where you will want to avoid using this phrase.
A formal exchange is defined by the person you are speaking with and by the context in which you are speaking. For example, when conversing with your boss or someone you do not know very well, you should avoid saying “thanks a ton” since it will come off too friendly and informal.
When you express gratitude in writing, this is also usually a more formal exchange, so other expressions of gratitude would be more appropriate. The exception is that if you were writing a simple thank you note or email to a close friend, then “thanks a ton” would be perfectly acceptable.
What Can You Use Instead of “Thanks a Ton”?
To be more formal, you can use the phrase “thank you very much” instead of “thanks a ton.” If you are unsure of the appropriate tone and formality, the phrase “thank you” is a general expression of gratitude that works in any circumstance.
There are also other ways to express gratitude that don’t involve the words “thanks” or “thank you.” Here are just a few of them!
|I really appreciate it.||Formal or Informal Tone|
|I owe you one.||Informal Tone|
|Much appreciated.||Formal or Informal Tone|
|I’m so grateful.||Formal Tone|
|You’re the best.||Informal Tone|
For additional ways to say thank you, please check out the article “Is It Correct to Say ‘Thank You Both?’”
Phrases and Idioms
When we talk about phrases, we mean a group of words that function as a similar unit and contain either a subject or a verb, but not both (source). There are different types of phrases.
For example, “the large dog” is a noun phrase, and “ran along the beach” is a verb phrase.
“Thanks a ton” is a phrase because it doesn’t have both a subject and a verb. However, you can turn “thanks a ton” into a clause containing both a subject and verb by adding a few words and changing up the sentence.
Here are two examples where we edited the phrasal expressions of gratitude to turn them into clauses.
- I am so thankful for what you’ve done.
- I really appreciate your help.
Each of these examples is a fuller thought that includes a clear subject (I) and verb (am & appreciate). Expressions of gratitude can be either phrases or clauses.
In particular, we also consider “thanks a ton” an idiom, which is a group of words where the collective meaning is different than what the individual words imply (source). This is because when you say “thanks a ton,” you are not literally thanking someone with a ton (2,000 pounds) of something.
Expressions of Gratitude
In English, there are many different expressions of gratitude, and while this may feel confusing at first, these variances allow us to express nuance and add a depth of meaning to our interactions.
For example, if you choose to use a formal tone, it shows the person you are talking to that you respect them and acknowledge their social standing. Similarly, using an informal tone helps you convey to someone that you feel close, familiar, and comfortable with them.
Here are some additional expressions of gratitude and some of their implications.
|Saying “thanks” is short and to the point. We often say “thanks” for small or insignificant favors. “Thanks” alone doesn’t convey the warmth and friendliness of other options.|
|Saying “thank you” is the most universal way to express gratitude in English. You can apply “Thank you” in both formal and informal settings and to small or large favors.|
Thank you so much.
|This is similar to saying “thank you very much,” but it is more emotional because of the word “so.” You can use this expression formally or informally to imply that someone did you a big favor.|
I couldn’t have done it without you.
|This is a more indirect way of thanking someone and is more informal in tone. This expression of gratitude indicates that the person you are thanking played a vital role and that you are acknowledging the work or effort they put in.|
I am eternally grateful.
|Saying “I am eternally grateful” is formal and implies that someone did a great favor for you. We use this expression of gratitude less frequently. When you use this phrase, you indicate that you will never forget how this person helped you.|
Interjections and Imperatives
Again, “thanks” and “thank you” are interjections in English grammar. We define interjections as short expressions of emotion that can be interruptive (source). These expressions of gratitude are typically less interruptive than other interjections like “Hey!” or “Oops!”
The core emotion of an expression of gratitude is appreciation and positivity. At times, people do use “thanks” and “thanks a lot” sarcastically. However, this is usually only among people who know each other well; it is rare to find such outward sarcasm in professional or formal settings.
We can also describe the phrase “thanks a ton” as an imperative due to the implied second person. In the phrase “thanks a ton,” the “you” is absent, and there is no mention of someone’s name like in this example: “Thanks, Mary.”
Usually, we use imperatives to communicate some sort of command with the infinitive form of a verb, like in this example: “Stop at the bank, please.” This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
It is common for someone to use an imperative to make a request and follow it up with the phrase “thanks a ton,” like in the example below.
Person A: Stop at the grocery store on your way home, please.
Person B: Okay, I will!
Person A: Thanks a ton!
Expressing gratitude is an important aspect of communication that we use on a near-daily basis. When you are familiar with multiple expressions of gratitude, you can convey a more complex meaning better suited to the specific situation.
When using “thanks a ton,” be sure to use it in verbal, informal settings. If you are unsure about the situation, you can always use “thank you” as a more generic expression of gratitude.