Good friends, a loving family, a stable job, what you learned from the challenges of the year . . . for some, there is much to be thankful for! November is the month of “thanks” in the United States: it began with the idea of Thanksgiving, the holiday designed to celebrate the harvest. Centuries later, the large Thanksgiving dinner is still a tradition, but today the holiday also involves taking the time to give thanks for the blessings in your life. To help you express thanks, we have some expressions of gratitude in English.

Expressing Gratitude in English

Thank you + for + gerund

The first and most important grammar point is to remember that we say THANK YOU FOR + ING (not FOR + INFINITIVE). Here are some examples:

  • Thank you for giving me a ride to school.
  • Thank you for helping me with my homework.
  • Thank you for being such a wonderful friend.
Students Study Reading
“Thanks for helping me with my homework.”

Informal Expressions with “Thanks”

Here are a few more informal expressions with thanks:

  • Thanks a lot (+ for + ing)
  • Thanks very much (+ for + ing)
  • Thank you so much (+ for + ing)
  • Thanks a bunch (+ for + ing)
  • Cheers. (Used in British English)

Owing Someone

Sometimes you thank someone for a favor and want to express that you will return the favor.

  • I owe you.
  • I owe you one.
  • I owe you big time.
  • You’re a life saver.


Sarcastically Thanking Someone

If you are being sarcastic, there are many ways you can express this.

  • Gee, thanks.
  • Thanks a lot.
  • Thanks a bunch.
  • Thanks for nothing!
Interview Business English
“Thank you for meeting with me today.”

Formally Thanking Someone

How do you thank someone formally?

  • My sincerest thanks (+ for + ing)
  • My sincerest gratitude (+ for + ing)
  • Very much obliged.


Other Expressions

  • “You shouldn’t have.” We say this when someone does us a favor, and it’s short for “You shouldn’t have + past participle.”
    • You got me a birthday gift? You shouldn’t have (done that).
  • “You’re too kind.” We often say this when someone gives us a compliment.
    • “I love this photo of you.”
    • “You’re too kind.”


At CISL, we are incredibly thankful for our wonderful teachers and staff, our incredible host families who make our students’ stays so enjoyable, and, of course, our amazing students! What are you thankful for?


Photos from Shutterstock.