When communicating, we often have to choose our words wisely. And when it comes to choosing words to express appreciation or kindness, we can say “thank you” in various ways.
It is correct to say, “Thanks for your help.” The expression is a minor sentence that allows us to share our thanks while providing a reason for our aforementioned gratitude. It’s a helpful response if you’re expressing appreciation in a context where the listener can infer that they are the subject or recipient of the gratitude.
“Thanks for your help” is a minor sentence, and you’ll hear it often in conversation with native English speakers. To learn more, including how to use it and, if necessary, avoid it, keep reading.
What Does “Thanks for Your Help” Mean?
When you say “Thanks for your help,” you offer gratitude to someone after they assisted you. This is vague enough to use as a response to any act of assistance, large or small.
Its meaning is fairly straightforward if you break “Thanks for your help” down to its smallest parts.
The Meaning of Thanks
In the minor sentence “Thanks for your help,” the noun “thanks” is an informal plural form of the noun “thank you” (source). A “thank you” is what you offer when you’re grateful for something.
We derive “thanks” from the verb “thank,” meaning to express gratitude.
- I sent her my thanks.
- Thanks for your help.
- Thanks to Pretty Little Liars, my sister hasn’t slept longer than three hours.
In short, if you can replace “thanks” in a sentence with “thank you,” and it is still grammatically correct, you’ll know thanks is standing in place of thank plus you. If you can’t, “thanks” alone is a noun.
For example, take a look at the sentences above. Only the first and third are technically grammatically correct because they contain a clear subject and verb. However, the second sentence does not have a clear subject. Instead, the listener can make an inference about the subject without it being present.
“Thank you” is a typical response to gifts, compliments, or anything else abstract or concrete someone offers or gives to you. It’s even a helpful way to reject something politely when you say, “No, thank you.”
How to Use “For”
The second word in this minor sentence, “for,” functions as a preposition indicating purpose. This preposition links the noun or subject “thanks” to the verb “help.”
The expression tells the reader that the speaker is grateful for something or some action.
The phrase “thanks for” works the same way in other sentences you might be familiar with. Take, for example, the sarcastic sentence “thanks for nothing.” Taken literally, it means you’re grateful for someone not doing anything at all.
Similarly, it is not technically a complete sentence, given the listener must infer that they are the subject.
Still, the word “thanks” indicates gratitude, while the words after “for” indicate the action that resulted in your gratitude. To know more about the “thanks for” combination, read “Is It Correct To Say, ‘Thanks For All You Do‘?”
The Meaning of “Your Help”
The final words, “your help,” function as one concept. This is because “your” is a determiner, and “help” is a noun. “Your help” refers to the assistance that you — the person someone is speaking to — gave.
Determiners are words you use before a noun, and “your” is what we call a possessive pronoun (source). “Help” is the noun, so in this case, the “help” belongs or relates to the person you’re speaking to.
So when you refer to “your help,” you are referring to an action the person you’re speaking to (“you”) did that assisted you somehow.
In a nutshell, “Thanks for your help” is an informal minor sentence that you can use to offer thanks to someone who has helped you. However, if you’re in a formal environment or want to sound more respectful, it’s best to stick to “Thank you for your help” since it is technically and grammatically complete.
How Do You Use “Thanks for Your Help”?
You can use “Thanks for your help” to show gratitude after someone has helped you. Thus, you can use it directly after someone assists you or at a later moment.
For example, imagine that you’ve found yourself lost in a new city. You ask someone for directions, and they provide you with a route to where you need to be. You can say “Thanks for your help” as soon as they finish talking.
Or, in a different scenario, imagine that your friend helped you with some work or concealed something you never wanted anyone to find out. It’s never too late to tell them, “Thanks for your help.”
When Can You Use “Thanks for Your Help”?
You can use “thanks for your help” in an informal scenario after someone has assisted you. It doesn’t matter what the action was. Just keep in mind that “Thanks for your help” can stand on its own informally in a speaking context, but the listener must infer the subject.
On its own, it’s as simple as saying “Thanks for your help” to someone who’s done something for you. However, if you want to add to “Thanks for your help” and make a complex sentence, you’ll need to remember a few grammar rules.
One of the simplest add-ons is a name. That way, you can be specific about who you’re talking to, removing the inference necessary and clearly stating the subject (someone’s name):
- Alyson, thanks for your help.
- Thank you for your help, Mr. Fitz.
You can also add extra information elaborating on what someone did to help you:
- Thanks for your help cleaning up.
- Thanks for your help with my schoolwork.
These examples provide detail but may not explain everything. The listener must still infer that they are the subject, so the sentence is “minor.”
So, on its own, “Thanks for your help” is quite vague. However, if you choose, you can add more detail, including more context and a specified subject.
In What Context Can You Use “Thanks for Your Help”?
In general, you can use “Thanks for your help” in any context. However, if you are in a formal environment, you may want to stick to the more professional-sounding “Thank you for your help,” assuming you’re speaking to a single person.
“Thanks” is a slightly informal expression of gratitude in English, especially if you use it by itself, such as with, “I finished printing those papers you asked for,” to which someone replies, “Thanks!”
“Thanks” essentially functions as an abbreviation for “Thank you.” So, if you’re ever using “Thanks,” don’t forget to switch it to “Thank you” when you wish to sound more formal.
Keep in mind who you’re speaking to, too. This is because the pronoun “you” mainly functions as a singular pronoun. It can work as a plural, but this can be somewhat confusing in the “Thank you for your help” scenario:
- Person 1: “I found the number you were searching for.”
- Person 2: “Thank you for your help.” (Singular)
- “Thank you for your help,” the teacher told them after the charity drive. (Plural)
One quick note to mention is that this doesn’t mean you can’t use “you” as a plural when saying “Thank you for your help.”
Instead, it’s best to use “Thank you all for your help” or “Thanks for your help, everyone.” This way, you can more easily identify that you’re talking to multiple people.
Using “Thanks for Your Help” in a Full Sentence
You can use “Thanks for your help” in a full sentence. It can function as a minor sentence on its own, or you can add something before or after it and make it a longer, more complete, and complex sentence.
You can use “Thanks for your help” without any changes, adding it to a more complex idea or response.
- Aria slipped the documents into her bag and said, “Thanks for your help.”
- I told my sister, “Thanks for your help,” after she agreed to take over my chores.
You can also use it as part of complex sentences by changing the text before, between, or after. In doing so, adding a specified subject, the minor sentence becomes complete and grammatically correct, both in the examples above and below.
- Toby, I wanted to say thanks so much for your help.
- Ashley, please accept my thanks for your help with this assignment.
Remember, “Thanks for your help” can function as a minor sentence on its own or as part of a more complex sentence. Both are “correct,” but only when adding a specified subject does the sentence become a traditionally grammatically correct sentence with a clear subject and verb.
When Not to Use “Thanks for Your Help”
“Thanks for your help” is very versatile in spoken communication. However, you may wish to avoid it in a formal context, in writing, or when you prefer to provide more detail.
In a formal context, this change is clear since “Thanks” needs to become “Thank you.” However, there are synonyms for “Thanks for your help” as a whole.
What Can You Use Instead of “Thanks for Your Help”?
There are multiple synonyms for “Thanks for your help.” Some of them are near-perfect synonyms, while others provide more detail or stress the speaker’s gratefulness.
Here are some simple phrases that work in place of “Thanks for your help” with essentially identical meanings:
- I appreciate your aiding me today.
- I am grateful for your help.
- Thank you for your assistance.
- Thank you for your support.
There are also some close synonyms or substitutes. For example, you can use “Thanks” or “Thank you” as a response immediately after someone does something for you.
As long as it comes soon after the act of assistance, more context isn’t necessary.
You can also use “Thank you for…” and follow it with added context explaining what action you’re grateful for. So rather than a simple “Thank you for your help,” you can say “Thank you for giving me such good advice” or “Thank you for looking over my work.”
This isn’t exactly a synonym, but it’s a decent way to convey a similar point in more detail.
There are also ways you can stress your gratefulness:
- Thanks so much for your help.
- Your help is very appreciated.
A simple “Thanks” or “Thank you” may also suffice. These options offer less detail than “Thanks for your help” or any above replacements; however, they still show gratitude and come more naturally in casual conversation.
Expressions of Gratitude as Minor Sentences
Minor sentences convey a complete idea while not containing a clear, specified subject or predicate (or at times both) (source).
Studies often find that people who feel more gratitude are happier on average, so most of us want to know how to verbalize these feelings, and the most basic way to do this is through minor sentences.
Minor sentences may be grammatically incomplete, but they are still useful when interacting. Often, you don’t have to say much to get a message across, as with “Thanks for your help.”
Minor sentences like this convey a message with minimal effort.
You can also use minor sentences to show gratitude, as evidenced by the basic “Thanks!” This may not be the most polite or detailed way to convey your message, but it’s unquestionably valuable when you don’t want to take too much time.
Phrases and Clauses
Phrases and clauses are two of the most important parts of sentences. A phrase is a group of words without a subject-verb unit, while a clause has both a noun and a verb (source).
There are two types of clauses in English: independent clauses that can stand on their own and dependent clauses that can’t (source).
So, in short, a phrase cannot stand on its own, and neither can some clauses. Just remember that a phrase is missing either a subject or a verb and is not a complete sentence. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
An independent clause is always grammatically correct, given it has a subject-verb unit. A dependent clause is grammatically correct in that it contains a subject and a verb, but it does not express a complete thought.
A saying states, “No man is an island.” This is because we, as human beings, rely on each other to grow, thrive, and succeed. With that in mind, we sometimes need to offer others thanks.
One of the ways to do this is a simple “Thanks for your help” to remind people that you’ve noticed what they’ve done for you and you’re grateful for the effort they put in.