How to word thank you notes

How to word thank you notes

Since the dawn of time, people have struggled with the right way to say thank you. From prehistoric grunts around a campfire (Urrrp…good meat) all the way to present-day postings on Facebook (Shout out to my peeps!), we’ve come up with lots of easy ways to say thanks. Phone calls, emails, text messages—they all get the job done. But a handwritten thank-you note says more: It tells our friends and family that we went out of our way to sit down and write just to them, because they’re worth it. And if that’s not an improvement over the campfire grunt, what is?

The hardest part of writing a thank-you note, for many, is just starting it. How do I begin? Does it sound forced? Can I say enough to fill the page? To help you face your fears, use this simple thank-you letter template: Who, What and When.

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Make a list of everyone you need to thank. If your thank-yous are the result of a party in your honor, write down the names of those who sent or brought a gift, whether it came by mail, email, carrier pigeon or in person. Then add in the friends who did anything to help out with the get-together—planning, decorating, running errands and so on.

Here’s the basic template for a good thank-you note along with a few sample phrases to get you started. (Need more help with what to write? Express your gratitude with these thank-you messages and ideas from Hallmark writers.)

1. Greeting. Don’t forget to make sure you’re using the correct form and spelling of the person’s name, as well as anyone else’s mentioned in the note.

  • Dear Aunt Sharon and Uncle Bob,

2. Express your thanks. Begin with the two most important words: Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for…
  • It made my day when I opened…
  • I’m so grateful you were there when…

3. Add specific details. Tell them how you plan to use or display their gift. It shows them that you really appreciate the thought that went into it. Even if it’s cold hard cash, describe how you’ll spend the stuff.

  • Here’s a picture of me with my new briefcase. I look so professional!
  • I can’t wait to use the birthday money you sent to decorate my dorm room.
  • The going-away party meant so much to me. Having all my friends and family in one place was something I’ll never forget.

4. Look ahead. Mention the next time you might see them, or just let them know you’re thinking of them.

  • We look forward to seeing you next month at Lucy’s party.

5. Restate your thanks. Add details to thank them in a different way.

  • Again, thank you for your generosity. I’m so excited about college. I’ll let you know all about it when I get settled.
  • We felt so blessed that you made the trip to be with us on our wedding day. We can’t wait to see you again soon!

6. End with your regards. “Sincerely” is a safe standby, but for closer relationships, you might choose a warmer option.

  • With love,
  • Many thanks,
  • Yours truly,

Try to send your thank-you notes out quickly. For events such as parties and showers, a good rule of thumb is to send your cards out within a month after the event. If it’s later than that, start your note with a brief apology. “I’ve been meaning to tell you…”

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How to word thank you notes

Jeanne Field enjoys quilting, killer sudoku and washi-tape hoarding in her free time—which she has more of now that her 2 kids are in college. She hopes to live 1,000 or so more years so she can make ALL the quilts.

How to word thank you notes

This is a list of phrases for showing appreciation or gratitude to someone in English.

Light “thank you” phrases

If someone does something small for you, you can say:

It’s common to follow “Thanks” with a person’s name or a word to address them:

It’s not often used in American English, but English speakers in Britain and Australia often say:

More serious English “Thank you’s”

When someone really goes out of their way to help you, you can use one of these expressions to show a deeper level of gratitude:

This is less formal but expresses a lot of emotion:

Thank you so, so much for coming.

You might think that this phrase would express deep thanks, but it’s not exactly used that way:

Thank you very much.

Actually, people often use this for simple polite interactions like when a waiter brings your food.

You can also use it when you’re angry with someone:

I can do it just fine by myself, thank you very much.

Formal expressions of thanks

Here’s a formal phrase to use in situations like when you’re writing a card to someone:

I’m so thankful for having you in my life.

The emotion that this phrase expresses is really strong.

Another phrase which is also formal but not as emotional are these:

I appreciate all of your help.

These phrases are good to use in various situations at work.

Responding to “thank-you’s”

When someone thanks you, it’s polite to respond in some way. Depending on how serious the “thank you” is, you can respond with one of the phrases below:

This list is arranged roughly in order of seriousness, meaning that the most serious responses are at the end.

How to word thank you notes How to word thank you notes

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How to word thank you notes

After receiving a gift, attending a dinner party, or leaving someone’s house from an overnight stay, you know you need to write a thank you note. However, you might not know exactly what to say. Most people want to send them, but it can be a huge struggle for some. They don’t always know how to put their thoughts into words.

Purpose of a Thank You Note

If you are at a loss for words when you sit down with paper and pen and try to write something to show gratitude for someone else’s generosity, follow this advice. You don’t have to use fancy wording or write anything worthy of an award.

The main thing you need to do is show how much you appreciate the gift or hospitality. Even if you didn’t care for the gift or if you didn’t have a wonderful time, you should still send a thank you note. After all, the person thought enough of you to get you a gift or prepare her home for you.

What You’re Thanking the Person For

Of course, you’ll need to use some of your own wording, but with a basic outline, it shouldn’t take too long to jot a thank you note to let others know how much you appreciate their gift, their hospitality, or their thoughtfulness.

At the beginning of the note, you need to be clear with the person what you are thanking them for and be specific. If this is for a gift at a shower, birthday party, or some other event that involved multiple gifts from a lot of people, have someone jot down who gave what as you open them.

If this is for an act of service, such as someone volunteering to mow your lawn or babysit your children, be clear. Mention the gift, service, or act you’re thankful for and show what it means to you. Even when a thank you note isn’t expected, thoughtful wording is important.

Show Gratitude

You might think that the importance of showing gratitude in your note is a given. However, there are some people who overlook writing a simple “Thank you,” even though that was the purpose of the note. Even if you don’t care for the gift, you should send a thank you note with an emphasis on the person’s thoughtfulness.

Phrases to help with the opening line:

  • Thank you for the.
  • I am grateful for.
  • I am thankful for.
  • I appreciate the.

State the Gift or Act

Don’t take the easy way out and simply state, “Thanks for the gift.” Although this is officially a thank you message, it lacks the personal touch that makes the note seem sincere. This will be the second part of the opening line or first sentence.

Here are some examples:

  • Thank you for the lovely candlesticks.
  • I am grateful for your warm hospitality.
  • I am thankful for your friendship and willingness to listen when I need to talk.
  • Thank you for watching my children during my dental appointment.
  • I appreciate the gift card to my favorite restaurant.
  • Thank you for hosting my family during the holidays.
  • Thank you for the gift, but most of all, thank you for being at my Bar Mitzvah to help me celebrate such an important event.

Mention Your Reason for Being Thankful

This may include what you plan to do with the gift or how it helped you. Most of the time this part will be the second sentence of your thank you note.

Here are some examples of this part of the thank you note:

  • My husband and I will celebrate our anniversary soon, and we will use the candlesticks to make the setting even more romantic.
  • You made me feel like part of the family during our visit.
  • I have had a difficult time making my decision, and you helped me tremendously by being there for me.
  • They serve some of the best seafood in town, so I always look forward to eating there.

Here are some things you can write if you didn’t care for the gift or your overnight stay wasn’t as pleasant as you had hoped:

  • With the weather being so cold lately, the scarf was a very thoughtful gift.
  • It was so sweet of you to give me the box of mixed candies.
  • You clearly put a lot of time into getting your home ready for me, and I appreciate your hospitality.

Add a Closing Statement

This should be something that is specifically targeted toward the person you are sending the thank you note to. You may write one or two sentences, depending on what you want to say and how well you know the other person. Avoid something generic that could go to anyone.

Here are some ways you can end the note:

  • We would love to have you over for dinner sometime soon.
  • I look forward to seeing you and John next time you are in the area. Give us a call before you come so we can clear our schedule.
  • If you ever need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call.
  • Maybe next time we plan a trip to (the name of the restaurant or venue), we’ll give you a call, and hopefully, you can join us.

Sign the Note

Personal signatures emphasize your relationship with the other person. If you have some sort of “friendship buzz phrase,” this is the place you can use it. Otherwise, come up with something that leaves the other person feeling good about what you are thanking her for.

Here are some examples:

  • Love
  • Warmly
  • Friends always
  • Pals forever
  • Affectionately

Timing of a Thank You Note

The best time to send a thank you note is right after you receive the gift or whatever you are thanking the other person for. However, if a week or two has passed, don’t let that be an excuse not to send one. Just do it as soon as you can. One of the biggest mistakes some people make is procrastinating on sending a thank you note.

Sharing is caring!

A good business practice is say thank you to your new and returning customers. A good thank you quote or message will help build that strong customer loyalty that keeps your business afloat.

Most forms of customer thank you messages come in the form of email with the abundance of online ordering. You can still include a thank you message note if you send out your product to your customer.

Business Thank You Emails

  • Keep your message brief but still memorable.
  • Send your email immediately after purchase.
  • If it is an email, say something positive in the subject line.
  • Your thank you email should be just that, a thank you. Do not attempt to sell more in a thank you email.
  • Some businesses offer a future discount or promo in their thank you email.
  • You may want to follow up later with a customer feedback email.

Business Thank You Notes

  • Personalize it, if possible.
  • If you’re including your thank you note in the package, make it a different size and noticeable so your customer will be able to find it easily.
  • Include your branding in your thank you note.
  • Handwrite your name or business, if possible.

1) Thank you for your purchase from [company name]. Please let us know if we can do anything else to help!

2) Just wanted to say thank you for your purchase. We’re so lucky to have customers like you!

3)Thank you for being an [company name] customer. We sincerely appreciate your business and hope you come back soon!

4) [company name] has the best customers! Thank you sooo much for your support!

5) Thank you for being our valued customer. We are so grateful for the pleasure of serving you and hope we met your expectations.

6) Thank you so your support. We truly appreciate your business and look forward to serving you again.

7) We at [company name] truly appreciate your business, and we’re so grateful for the trust you’ve placed in us. We sincerely hope you are satisfied with your purchase.

8) Thanks for shopping at [company name]. We hope to have the pleasure of doing business with you in the future.

9) We at [company name]know you had many options to choose from, we thank you for choosing us.

10) Thank you for your business and your trust. It is our pleasure to work with you.

11) Thank you so much for your business. We are honored to have clients like you.

12) You are the reason [company name] does what we do. Thank you for being a loyal customer.

13) Thank you. We hope your experience was awesome and we can’t wait to see you again soon.

14) Thank you for the privilege of your business. Please let us know if we can help in the future.

15) Because of loyal customers like you, we’re exciting that [company name] is growing so fast. Thank you!

16) Hope you are happy with your purchase! Thank you for being a valued [company name] customer!

17) Thank you for making your first purchase with [company name]! We’re so glad that you found what you were looking for.

18) Thank you for hiring [company name] We appreciate your business, and we’ll do our best to continue to give you the kind of service you deserve.

19) [company name] would like to thank awesome customers like you for your amazing support! You rock!

20) Your support means the world to us! Thank for your business. Hope to work with you again in the future.

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How to word thank you notes

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Funerals are stressful, particularly after someone close to you passes. After laying your loved one to rest, you’re emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. You probably don’t want to do anything, so your friends have come to the rescue to help you out with food, help around the house, and a listening ear. They’re doing this out of concern and love for you.

Other friends may have sent flowers or donations to a charity in honor of the deceased. They probably don’t expect anything from you in return, but it’s still good form to write thank you notes when you’re able to.

Most people will understand if it takes you several weeks or even a month or two, and they don’t expect a long letter. If you decide to write a thank you note after the funeral, keep it simple and to the point, letting those who brought or sent something know how much you appreciate their kindness and generosity.

Thank You Note Samples for Flowers

Traditionally, people have sent flowers, either for the funeral and gravesite or for the family to take home afterward. They may have been in the form of a funeral wreath, cut flowers in a vase, or potted so you can transplant them later.

Here are some examples of thank you notes to those who sent funeral flowers:
Dear Matthew,
Thank you for the beautiful flower arrangement after Peter’s passing. I am sure you are grieving too, but know that he always thought of you as one of his closest friends.
Many thanks,
Georgia

Dear Sally and John,
The wreath you sent to the funeral home was stunning. My family and I appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration during this difficult time. Your support and kindness are helping us through this difficult time.
Gratefully,
Myrna

Thank You Note Samples for Donations

Many people choose to request donations to a favorite charity in place of flowers. If your friends have honored this, you need to thank them for their generosity and thoughtfulness. Most charities send cards to the family of the deceased with the names of donors so you’ll know where the money or gift items came from.

Here are some examples of thank you notes for people who donated to a charity in memory of your loved one:

Dear Anthony,
Thank you so much for the generous donation to the American Heart Association in Zeke’s name. As you know, he suffered from heart disease for years before his passing, and this was the perfect gift in his memory.
Always,
Denise

Dear Betty and Sam,
My family appreciates your donation to the SPCA in memory of our beloved Oscar. As you know, he was always an animal lover and fostered many dogs and cats throughout the years. I’m hoping to continue bringing in animals temporarily until we can find them “forever” homes.
Your friend and neighbor,
Amanda

Thank You Note for Food

Your friends, neighbors, and business associates may get together to provide meals for the days that follow the funeral of your loved one. This is their way of letting you know they care about you and want to do what they can to make your life easier during your time of sorrow.

After the funeral, people are likely to stop by your house to pay their respects and express their sympathy. Although you don’t have to have refreshments for them, it’s always nice when someone steps up and provides something for visitors. They’re doing their part to take the burden off of you.

Here are a couple of examples for thank you notes to friends who brought food before or after the funeral:

Dear Paula,
I want to thank you for attending Mom’s funeral and bringing food afterward. This gave me comfort, knowing you were there and I wouldn’t have to cook for a couple of days. I’ll call you soon after I have time to clear away a few things.
Love,
Barbara

Dear Alan,
Thank you so much for bringing the family-sized platters of cold cuts, vegetables, and fruit after Kevin’s funeral Your generosity and thoughtfulness in bringing finger foods for guests helped my family get through the most difficult time. It was nice to not have to worry about feeding all of those people when they stopped by the house over the next several days.
Sad but grateful,
Priscilla

Show of Support

The very act of people sending flowers, bringing food, or donating to a charity shows that they want to help support you during this time of grieving. Always graciously accept whatever they offer and thank them afterward.

When Tina Wascovich got a promotion early in her career, she picked out cards and gave handwritten thank you notes to her manager as well as a senior VP, both of whom she felt had been instrumental in helping her take a step up. The high-level executive was so enthusiastic about her note that he wrote her one in return to tell her how pleased he’d been to recommend her for the promotion. Everyone felt good about Wascovich’s accomplishment and about themselves. Who wouldn’t want that?

If you’ve just been promoted, well then first, you deserve a big congratulations, and some celebrations are certainly in order. Go on, do a happy dance, raise a glass, treat yourself to a promotion gift, or all of the above.

But while you’re basking in the glow of validation that comes with a shiny new title or role, take a moment to consider how you got there, who might’ve helped you along the way, and how you can acknowledge that support.

“It’s the perfect time to show appreciation to your boss or your company for a promotion and the recognition of the value your contribution is making to the company,” says Wascovich, a Muse career coach. One easy and effective way to do that is with a thank you note.

Why You Might Write a Thank You Note for a Promotion

Writing a thank you note for a promotion, unlike for an interview, is not a must-do, more like a really-nice-to-do.

“In fact, I think that if you do this, it will be remembered by that boss likely for a long time because today people are not writing handwritten notes or much of anything,” Wascovich says. “To get a note of appreciation from someone on your staff that recognizes that you may have helped them on their career path, that makes an impact [on] anyone in a supervisory management or leadership role,” who will be more likely to “go the extra mile for them in the future.”

Al Dea, a Muse career coach and the founder of CareerSchooled, also emphasizes that it’s all about gratitude and appreciation. Having been on the receiving end of such thank you notes, he says, “I was super thrilled to see they got promoted [and] it made me feel good knowing that they considered me to have played a small role in that.”

Who You Should Thank

The most obvious person on your shortlist for a thank you note following a promotion is, not surprisingly, your direct manager. They’re often the one most closely involved with your success, but they’re not necessarily the only one.

Think about whether your boss’ boss or another senior leader played an active role in your growth as an employee or in advocating for or approving your promotion. Or perhaps you have a formal or informal mentor outside your reporting structure or even outside of your organization.

“To summarize it, I would thank people [who] you thought were instrumental in helping you achieve that,” says Wascovich.

What a Thank You Note After a Promotion Actually Looks Like (With Examples!)

If the logistics allow, consider a handwritten note. It “shows that you took the time, in today’s digital age. to walk outside, go to the store, pick out a card, buy the card, write something thoughtful, and give it to someone,” says Dea. “That shows a genuine kind of sincerity behind it. And while the gesture may be small, I think that another person would appreciate it.”

That being said, if you don’t work in the same office or don’t have someone’s physical address, an email is a perfectly good vehicle for your thank you note as well.

Either way, you don’t have to write a novel. Your note should be short and sweet. Here are a couple ways to go:

A Formal Thank You Note

It’s been a pleasure to learn and grow under your leadership. Thanks again for recognizing my contribution with this promotion. I look forward to continuing to work together.

A Thank You Note With Specific Examples

Thank you so much for recognizing my hard work and believing I was ready to take on a new role and more responsibility. I’m grateful for [something specific they did that helped you get to where you are, e.g. your guidance as I took on the X project and learned to lead a cross-functional team; how you went to bat for me to make this promotion happen], and excited to [thing you’ll be taking on in your new or more senior role, e.g. lead this new team or take on such an important client].

Other Ways to Show Your Gratitude

Everyone has their own way of showing gratitude, and you shouldn’t be afraid to go with your gut and do whatever feels most natural. If a thank you note doesn’t seem quite right, you could set aside some time at your next one-on-one—or in a separate meeting—to express your appreciation in person.

If you got a huge promotion and there’s someone who played a major role in that, Dea says, you might even consider getting them a small gift or taking them out to lunch.

The bottom line is that you want to genuinely and authentically thank someone. “How you choose to do that is up to you and certainly it needs to jive with what you feel comfortable doing,” Dea says. “I’m less concerned about the mechanism of how you do it and more about the spirit of deciding to go and do it.”

What to Avoid

“One time in high school, I profusely thanked a teacher for a high grade on a research essay I wrote,” says Muse writer and career coach Abby Wolfe. “He looked at me and said, ‘Why are you thanking me? You’re the one who did the hard work.’ And he was right.”

She learned that there’s a balance to strike between recognizing someone’s contribution to your success and owning your accomplishments. After all, she says, “you’re the one who worked hard to get the promotion. You’re the one who earned it.”

Even worse than letting your thanks cross the line into too much in such a sincere way is to write a note you don’t really mean simply to check a box, Dea says. If you don’t feel an honest desire to thank someone and do so out of obligation, it could come across as inauthentic and fall flat.

If you, like me, are now convinced that writing a genuine thank you note for a promotion is a meaningful gesture, remember too that “it’s never too late to show appreciation,” says Wascovich. Even if it comes a few weeks or months later, “we can brighten someone’s day.” Now, excuse me while I make a run to the stationery store.

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How to word thank you notes

Thank you notes are one of the nicest expressions of gratitude a person can extend to another. Following a wedding, a bride and groom may receive gifts from family, friends and coworkers. The timing to thank these individuals is important; it should be done within three months of gift receipt. Each thank you note should be personalized to the recipient and can vary in structure depending on the relationship between the couple and the gift giver. For gifts given to the couple from their places of business, there is certain etiquette to follow when giving thanks.

How to Word Thank You Notes for Work Gifts

Discuss who will write which thank you notes. For example, if the groom’s place of business gave the gift, decide whether or not he should write the thank you note.

Begin the thank you note by addressing the sender. For one giver, refer to him or her directly. For a group gift, however, refer to the team. For example, “Dear [Company Name] [Department Name] Team,” is the ideal way to word the opening of the thank you note.

Thank the gift giver for his or her specific present, not just for a gift in general. For example, “Thank you so much for the KitchenAid blender.”

Indicate in the thank you note your appreciation and plans for the gift. For example, “The gift was so thoughtful, and [spouse’s name] and I will think of you every time we make a milkshake or smoothie,” is an appropriate way to personalize the note.

Close the thank you note with a final sentence such as, “We were delighted you could join us for our wedding celebration and look forward to getting together soon.” Sign the note from both bride and groom.

Last Updated: November 25, 2020 Approved

This article was co-authored by Tami Claytor. Tami Claytor is an Etiquette Coach, Image Consultant, and the Owner of Always Appropriate Image and Etiquette Consulting in New York, New York. With over 20 years of experience, Tami specializes in teaching etiquette classes to individuals, students, companies, and community organizations. Tami has spent decades studying cultures through her extensive travels across five continents and has created cultural diversity workshops to promote social justice and cross-cultural awareness. She holds a BA in Economics with a concentration in International Relations from Clark University. Tami studied at the Ophelia DeVore School of Charm and the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned her Image Consultant Certification.

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After the death of a loved one, attending to the niceties of etiquette might be the last thing you want to do. Nevertheless, it’s an important part of life to acknowledge others’ kindness in times of grief and hardship. Sending a short, simple thank you note is not only basic etiquette, but also a thoughtful way to convey your appreciation for those who were involved in the lives of your late loved one.