A phrase with both formal and informal elements, “Thanks for your patronage” is definitely an odd phrase. But, is it correct to say nowadays?
Yes, it is correct to say “Thanks for your patronage” in formal situations, especially in semi-formal writing. For example, you may use it to express your appreciation for a patron’s support for a business, charity, organization, or some other group.
If it is indeed a formal phrase, then wouldn’t “thanks” be too casual? And, what kind of support would we consider “patronage”?
What Does “Thanks for Your Patronage” Mean?
“Thanks for your patronage” is a semi-formal expression of gratitude by a person, business, or organization toward a patron who donated money, time, or support. A patron is usually a wealthy or influential person who gives some form of support to a cause or an entity.
Before we fully define the phrase, let’s determine the meaning of “patronage.” “Patronage” refers to the support or influence of a patron, but it does not specify what that support or influence entails (source).
More broadly, “patronage” can refer to the business given to a shop or other business entity by its customers in British English (source). Though Americans can also understand this definition, it is typically too formal for most situations in American English.
However, American English does use the term “patron” more than “patronage.” It describes a wealthy and influential person who sponsors or supports something officially. In some ways, they would understand this “patron” as a benefactor (source).
So, “Thanks for your patronage” is a formal term of gratitude toward a patron who lends their support, financial or otherwise, to a person, organization, business, or some other entity. It signifies that the supported entity recognizes the importance of the gift for its continued operation.
There is a sense of elevating the patron over the entity to signify that the entity would not operate as it currently does without the patron. Hence, this term commonly appears in speeches by nonprofits after a fundraiser.
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Thanks for Your Patronage”?
Yes, it is grammatically correct to say, “Thanks for your patronage.” However, alternate forms like “Thank you for your patronage” are easier to build into a full sentence: “We want to thank you for your patronage.”
How formally you wish to express gratitude for something will determine whether or not you use “Thanks for your patronage” alone or as part of a longer sentence. Since it is an idiomatic expression that works as a minor sentence, it can stand alone despite not having a verb.
Furthermore, “patronage” is a formal word already, so keep in mind that using the full phrase at all implies at least a semi-formal situation or an instance where you feign formality as a joke.
For instance, if you received a gift from a friend that they intended to help you work easier, you may say “Thanks for your patronage” as a joke. It is grammatically correct to do so — just make sure your friend would appreciate such a joke!
How Do You Use “Thanks for Your Patronage”?
You should largely reserve “Thanks for your patronage” for relatively formal situations, particularly in written letters of gratitude. Though there is no verb, this phrase can stand alone as an expression where we understand the subject and verb. Still, you may opt to fill it out: “We want to thank you for your patronage.”
Even though “Thanks for your patronage” can stand alone, you ought to include it with a longer message or speech within formal settings. Using the semi-formal phrase alone does not communicate the depth of gratitude that it is supposed to indicate.
Compare the following:
We have received your donation. Thanks for your patronage.
We greatly appreciate every hour of work and every dollar you have given. All of our staff want to thank you for your patronage.
Though both messages are short, notice how much more sincere the more wordy message feels. “Thanks for your patronage” ought to communicate the recognition of and the depth of gratitude for a patron’s support.
Standing alone, “Thanks for your patronage” could come across as mockery or sarcasm.
When Can You Use “Thanks for Your Patronage”?
You may use “Thanks for your patronage” whenever you or the entity you represent has received a donation or support from a patron. Most often, patrons will receive a gift along with a letter including this phrase.
It is also appropriate to include this phrase in a semi-formal appreciation speech to acknowledge the patron or patrons who donated to the cause or entity. Doing so indicates the depth of gratitude one feels toward those who make something possible by donating their time, money, and/or support.
As with any semi-formal phrase, it is also possible to use “Thanks for your patronage” in a satirical or mocking way. For example, a man may say this to a cat who left a mess on his bed: “Madam, thanks for your patronage.”
Sarcasm is another common way to use such a term. For example, a person collecting donations for a cause may say “Thanks for your patronage” to someone who donated a few pennies to clear their pocket.
In What Context Can You Use “Thanks for Your Patronage”?
As an idiomatic expression, you are most likely to use “thanks for your patronage” in semi-formal situations after receiving someone’s “patronage.” It tends to be a public affair, but a privately delivered message is also appropriate.
If you wish to acknowledge informal donations from many people formally, it is appropriate to use “Thanks for your patronage” in a letter to those donors. However, it does come across as somewhat wooden.
Generally, saying “Thanks for your patronage” in a public speech to multiple patrons is not only appropriate but expected. Still, the personal presence of the beneficiary or beneficiaries lessens the formality of the phrase.
Using “Thanks for Your Patronage” in a Full Sentence
Since “thanks for your patronage” is an idiomatic phrase, you may use it after a verb that expresses a desire to thank the patron: “We want to give thanks for your patronage.” Still, despite not having a verb, it can stand on its own as a minor sentence.
You can give “thanks” for a patron’s patronage, but you cannot thank the patronage. Ensure that you organize your words correctly if you choose to alter the original phrase for more formality.
Some ways that you can use “thanks for your patronage” after a verb are the following:
- Please accept our thanks for your patronage.
- I want to thank you for your patronage.
- We want to express thanks for your patronage.
You can also slightly alter the phrase by making “thank” the verb:
- Our students thank you for your patronage.
- The Humane Society thanks you for your patronage.
As an idiomatic expression, you may use it as an independent clause in a complex sentence:
- Thanks for your patronage, and please accept this gift.
It may also stand as the object of a verb:
- Mr. Wynn wanted me to express his thanks for your patronage.
When Not to Use “Thanks for Your Patronage”
Though it is possible to use it in semi-formal contexts, “Thanks for your patronage” is out-of-place in informal contexts because it will come across as mockery or sarcasm. Avoid it in instances where a friend or family member gave a gift of money or support casually unless humor is at play.
At times you wish to thank someone for a donation or a gift of support outside of formal contexts, it is awkward to say “Thanks for your patronage.” This is particularly awkward if the “patron” is a friend or family member because the formality of the phrase denotes a professional distance between the giver and the receiver.
Do not use “Thanks for your patronage” if the giver is a more casual person or if the entity they donated to is laid-back and casual. In such a case, the phrase would come across as “out of character” and distanced.
Casual donations on the street from passersby do not necessitate the use of “Thanks for your patronage.” However, it is acceptable to publicly announce gratitude in this way via social media or city-wide paper after the fundraising campaign is complete.
What Can You Use Instead of “Thanks for Your Patronage”?
In informal situations where you would like to express deep gratitude sincerely for a gift or support, you can use any one of the following:
- Thank you so much!
- I really appreciate your thoughtful gift.
- Thank you for thinking of me! This is great!
- You are so thoughtful; thank you so much!
- I am so grateful for everything you have done for me, especially this!
For formal situations, opt for one of these:
- I appreciate all of your heartfelt donations. Thank you.
- This business is not possible without you; thank you for your support.
- Everything we do here is possible because of your consistent support; thank you.
- Your donations have not gone unnoticed. Thank you for every hour you volunteered.
- Without you, this is not possible. You made this happen. Thank you so much.
Where time and space allow, naming items donated, time volunteered, or dollars given is very appropriate in a formal, public gratitude speech or letter. However, someone will not appreciate it informally.
Expressions of Gratitude as Minor Sentences
Every now and then, an idiomatic expression becomes so normal that it is able to stand alone — even without a subject or verb. Such is the case with “Thanks for your patronage.” This is possible thanks to the expression’s use in similar contexts over decades.
Such consistent use of a phrase in similar contexts over decades causes the speaker or writer and the intended audience to assume the context of the phrase. When this happens, one is able to drop certain words from the sentence to avoid sounding wordy or repetitive.
“Thanks for your patronage” was once a sentence like “We want to thank you for your patronage.” Now, we can assume the one giving thanks and their desire to do so, so we can shorten the expression, and yet it retains the ability to stand alone as a minor sentence.
Other such expressions of gratitude that can stand as minor sentences are:
- Thank you so much.
- My thanks and appreciation.
- My sincere gratitude/thanks/appreciation.
- My deepest thanks.
- Many thanks.
- Thank you for your support.
Remember, we would not consider these complete sentences because they are missing a subject and a verb. However, by force of consistent use in similar contexts, we can assume the subject and verb.
As such, the object phrase can stand alone as a minor sentence while those involved assume the rest by shared context between the speaker and receiver.
To read more expressions of gratitude that can stand alone, check out “Is It Correct to Say ‘Thanks a Lot’?”
Phrases and Clauses
A full sentence in English requires a subject and a verb. It may contain other words and parts of speech to communicate a full thought that can stand alone as a sentence. A clause also requires a subject and a verb but connects to another clause. A phrase does not have either and cannot stand alone.
Clauses come in two forms: independent and dependent. Both types have a subject and a verb, but only the independent clause can stand as a sentence on its own. A dependent clause needs a connector, like a subordinating conjunction, to connect to an independent clause.
Dependent clauses add information to the independent clause, and that information may modify the independent clause as a noun, adjective, or adverb would.
|Noun Clause||You can choose whatever you want.|
|Adjective Clause||She chose a bear that was fuzzy and brown.|
|Adverb Clause||Since she chose the bear, she has been happy.|
A phrase does not have a subject and a verb and may not need a connector to the clause it modifies. Depending on their function and length, commas can set off phrases. Phrases, like clauses, can function with different parts of speech. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
If you would like more information on phrases and clauses, check out this article: “Is It Correct to Say ‘Thanks for the Reminder’?”
It’s best to explain the odd construction of “Thanks for your patronage” as an idiomatic expression that has come to serve as a minor sentence by use in similar contexts over time. That is why you may use it correctly alone despite its lack of a subject or verb.
Moreover, “Thanks for your patronage” is a useful phrase for formally acknowledging a person’s support to an individual, business, organization, or other entity in American English. It may appear in semi-formal situations in British English, such as a business thanking its consistent customers.