Cheers for thank you

Discussion in 'English Only' started by joce, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. joce Member

    Cambridge, GB
    France / French
    Hi all

    I learnt English in Dublin, heard people use "cheers" as thank you. I used it in turn, and one Dubliner told me they didn't say "cheers" that way. Now I hear it sometimes in England...

    Do you know about the geography of the use of "cheers" (also for meaning good-bye, maybe I heard it more in shops than among friends...?)

    Ch... Hmm. Thanks. :)
  2. Julien Member

    Lyon, France
    French, France

    I learnt English in Stafford, a small town near Birmingham and they used cheers to say thanks too. There were a lot of students from different parts of England and I seem to remember almost all of them saying cheers... So did they pick it up at uni or did they always use it, I don't know... :rolleyes:
    I don't recall hearing it in London the few times I went but I am not sure either...

    It's all I can say on this, some native English could probably be of more help... :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2010
  3. Olivia Member

    Saint-petersburg, Russia
    Switzerland French


    I lived four years in London, studied at University there and heard "cheers" all over the place, whether on the street, in pubs or at university among students... I guess your question, Julian, is rather: do Dubliners use "cheers" that way? which Dubliners? Any smart Irishman around on the forum to answer this vital question?

    Cheers, thanks, whatever...

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2010
  4. mijochelle Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    Australia, English
    I'm not Irish, but in my experience, cheers can mean thankyou, but only in restricted cases. It's always (almost) only used as a one word sentence, as in:

    - 'here's your spanner'
    - 'cheers' OR 'cheers for that'

    But it doesn't work when the sentence is expanded, as in:

    - 'here you go' [[handing over spanner]]
    - 'cheers for getting my spanner' (doesn't work, has to be "thanks for getting my spanner")

    I don't really know why it's like that, and I probably haven't explained it very well, but that's my first thought on the subject.
  5. LadyBlakeney

    LadyBlakeney Senior Member

    I think "Cheers" meaning "Thanks" is slang or colloquial and I heard it hundreds of times when I lived in London. It was strange to me at first but I got used to it and when I used it myself I felt I gave a "less foreign" impression.
  6. Summer New Member

    I don't know about in Ireland, but certainly in England "Cheers" means Thanks. (It's also what you say when you're giving a toast) It's colloquial/slang so you wouldn't use it in a formal situation, but amongst friends or in a pub it's perfectly acceptable. :)

  7. disco pig New Member

    Hi all,
    being Irish myself I feel obliged to join the conversation, already posted a reply in the French forum, so sorry to repeat myself.
    A lot of Irish people do use the word cheers when saying "thank you" but in a joking manner. It seems to be more of an English word and so for foreigners to use it would sound wrong.
    In Ireland the typical response would be
    1)thanks a million
    2)good stuff
    3)sound job
    but these are very much colloquial expressions, the best thing to say is simply "thanks".
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2010
  8. joce Member

    Cambridge, GB
    France / French
    Thanks for your answer, disco !
    So according to the forum, I guess I'll say cheers in GB and thanks in Ireland. Or at least in cheers in England, and thanks in Dublin... and wait for Scottish and Welsh answers... (and Irish countrymen also maybe :) ).
    Thanks also mijochelle for your explanations.
  9. Maru Senior Member

    Then, please give us the codes!
    The joker seems to be "thanks"...
  10. Kevin New Member

    I have first hand knowledge of this problem and I also really want to know the answer. I don't think it has actually been answered so far. I am English and have a German friend who consistently tries to use cheers in all the wrong places.

    First off to try and make it a bit clearer, I'd say that using "cheers" is exactly the same as saying "thanks". Thus everything else can also be applied to thanks.

    I think it's always ok to use it as slang for "thank you" (so far as I can tell). The problem comes when you use it for goodbye.

    I notice when I listen to my friend speaking German that she uses goodbye in some places that, in English, I would use cheers. The problem is that you can't use cheers instead of goodbye all the time but it can also seem quite rude if you don't use it.

    I hypothesise that the correct place to use cheers/thanks instead of goodbye is if the main purpose of meeting the person you are talking to was for them to help you.

    I've spent a while thinking about this but it really is not my field, so if anyone has a more definitive answer as to when you should/shouldn't use cheers please let me know.


  11. Roesch New Member

    Since no Americans have posted about this, I will take the honors. Cheers is what people say at a toast right before you touch or raise your glass with your friends. Besides that cheers isn't really used in America. Occasionally people use "cheers!" at the bottom of an informal letter, as to say "greetings!" If you say cheers for thanks, you'll probably get a funny look from most uncultured Americans.
  12. Caymangolfer New Member

    Jamaica English
    Speaking as a complet Heinz 57, English Dad, Irish Mum, grew up in the Caribbean, live in the States and a frequent user of the word Cheers. I will add belatedly my 2 cents. Cheers is thanks, it can be used as an ending to a letter instead of Best Regards or the like and of course it is used as a toast. A lot of the English Commonwealth use it, especially it seems South Africa, in fact I was asked by a Springbok today where in SA I was from due to my usage of Cheers.

    I use Cheers a lot in the US as thanks and no one has ever been flummoxed by what I mean, there have been so many English movies in the last few years that people here seem to know what it means.

    In Ireland as Disco mentioned it isn't really used, I hear it occasionally but mainly from NI friends. If you wanted to say it as a toast in Ireland you could always Sláinte instead.


  13. Putrid Toaster Member

    UK / English
    "Cheers" is also commonly used in New Zealand for "thank you". People here use:
    - "Cheers" (but not usually "cheers for doing something", it seems to me)
    - "Ta"
    - "Thanks"
  14. calzetin

    calzetin Senior Member

    Spain / Spanish
    I lived for two years in London and I've heard "cheers mate" many more times than "thanks" or "thank you" or anything else.

    I remember now a movie with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, where Pitt played the role or an Irish (from North Ireland), and he said "cheers" a couple of time (maybe to give a "exotic" touch for the american audience, like when a Spaniard says something like "hola amigo" :D )
  15. Perrin Member

    Madrid, Spain
    New Zealand / English
    Well, you could hear "cheers for that", or "cheers for your help", but perhaps not as often.

    And not to forget the popular "Cheers, bro!" which can be said to a friend (and not just your brother).
  16. capsicum New Member

    France / French

    I lived for a few years in various places in the UK and heard:
    - "cheers!" being used almost everywhere, from the North to the South to the East to the West
    - "ta!" being used (as far as I know) specifically in the South-East

    Been to Ireland a couple of times too, but don't remember if they used "cheers!", but I guess they don't, seing the reply from the Irish lad (er, sorry, I guess "lad" may sound too English to the Irish too !!)
  17. dave

    dave Senior Member

    UK - English
    Ta (for thanks) is not limited to the South East, and if anything is even more common in the North of England. Again, this is a word that is in very common use.
  18. LadyBlakeney

    LadyBlakeney Senior Member

    How do you pronounce "Ta"? As in "tap"? As in "tape"?

    Thanks a lot.
  19. dave

    dave Senior Member

    UK - English
    Neither! It would usually be pronounced as tar, and so rhyme with bar and car. But in certain accents (e.g. South Wales?), it may be a short a as in tap.

    This use and pronunciation of ta should not be confused with ta-ta or ta-ra, which is used very commonly, mainly in the Midlands and North of England and in Wales, for good bye. I use cheers, ta and ta-ra quite a lot!
  20. allen1984 Senior Member

    stafford, UK
    thank you
    thanks a lot
    thank you so much

    those are the simple ways to appreciate people`s favors for you

    But, where I am living in uk, people say cheers male.. can I say that to a girl ? Which I never said...:idea:
  21. Ecossaise Senior Member

    I think girls would not appreciate being addressed as "mate". You can say "Cheers" to them, but "thank you" is really safest.
  22. WongFeiHung

    WongFeiHung Senior Member

    USA English
    If you know the girl pretty well, you can say it jokingly ;)
    Otherwise as ecossaise said, you should probably just stick to "thanks so much" or something like that
  23. allen1984 Senior Member

    stafford, UK
    Thank you so much
    mate and male sound similarly to me
  24. Tzipphorah3 New Member

    I would just stick with Thank you Miss. if addressing a female
  25. speedier

    speedier Senior Member

    Not in my part of South Wales Dave :eek: :). Here it's the same as you've heard it:

    Ta (with the 'a' pronounced as in baa baa black sheep, bar or car) = thank you = cheers (which is also used to toast, as in 'salud').

    Ta very much = thanks a lot.

    As far as I know, there doesn't seem to be a superlative for cheers, so you'd just have to add something on for emphasis, such as:

    Cheers mate, thanks a lot, you've been a great help!
  26. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    In NZ, "cheers" is used to mean the following:

    1) Thanks.
    2) What you say when you are making a toast.
    3) Sometimes to mean goodbye.
  27. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    I use ta [pron. 'tar'] for 'thanks'; and (tata or tara or) t'ra for 'goodbye'.
    I never use cheers for thanking someone ~ it just doesn't go with my gloomy disposition:D
  28. jjshin Senior Member

    I hope all you guys have a great great time.

    I will introduce myself to kids in the camp.
    At the end of speech, I will say "above sentences"
    Are they OK?
  29. jjshin Senior Member

    I hope all you guys have a great great time.

    I will introduce myself to kids in the camp.
    At the end of speech, I will say "above sentences"
    Are they OK?
  30. colombo-aussie

    colombo-aussie Senior Member

    Spanish - Colombian

    Cheers is correct, it is an iformal way to say thank you especially in Australia.
  31. greg from vancouver

    greg from vancouver Senior Member

    vancouver, canada
    Canada, Vancouver
    In this context, "cheers" will sound a little odd. It's used most commonly today in email sign-offs. It's also used a lot by British people. 'Thank you' would sound fine, though a little stiff.

    How about: "I hope you all have a great time. Have fun."

  32. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It depends on what kind of identity or personality you want to impart. I think 'cheers' (as a catch-all word to mean 'thanks' or 'bye') could work in an Australian context. You might consider even 'cheers, all'.
  33. lordterrin

    lordterrin Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    American English
    Having friends who are Australian, I hear "cheers" from them all the time, yet they still make fun of me when I say it, because it's a pretty Australian word. I use it sometimes in email signoffs, and sometimes when i am informally leaving a group of people with whom I stopped to chat for a little bit, but in a formal setting where you are talking with a group of students, no I would not use "cheers!"

    I like Greg's suggestion of "Have Fun!" Cheers just seems out of place here...
  34. jjshin Senior Member

    Thank you very much.
    I heard it many times in Australia. Some sutdents said "cheers" to Professors.
    Thank you~
  35. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    (It's used a lot in the UK too but it definitely means Thanks.)

    You're not really thanking the kids for anything there, JJ. I'd go for Have fun too.
  36. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    That's right, but a couple of words of caution.

    This usage is now common in the UK, too, thanks to the all-pervasive Australian TV soaps.

    However, I'm not sure I've ever heard it used to a large group of people, or as the closing word of a speech, however informal. In my observation, it tends to be a one-person-to-one-person expression. It is also socially a bit tricky. It has an aura of "mateiness" about it and so is inappropriate even in some otherwise quite relaxed situations. And women use it less frequently than men (in the "thank-you" sense that is) unless they want to come across as "one of the boys".

    Sometimes it is also used in a sort of equality-asserting way that expresses a streak of inverse snobbery that Australians and British speakers share (but is much rarer in the US or Canada) For example, a couple of minutes ago I paid our window cleaner and he said, as he always does, "Cheers, mate!" as he pocketed the cash. He wasn't trying to be offensive and I wasn't offended, but there is an undertone there of signalling "Just because you live in a big house and pay me to do your dirty work, that doesn't mean you're any better than I am, so there!"

    So it's one to be used with care, especially by speakers not wholly at home in the culture of those they're addressing.

    Personally I would wind up a talk to such an audience with "Thanks a lot".
  37. mk.newmexico New Member

    English - U.S.
    My question is: when someone uses cheers for 'thank you,' what is the appropriate reply? Do you still say 'you're welcome'?
  38. Jam on toast

    Jam on toast Senior Member

    British English
    Sure, "you're welcome" would be a nice, polite reply and perfectly appropriate. If you'd rather keep it loose and colloquial (although "you're welcome" is hardly formal in my book) you could try "no problem" or "no probs, mate".
  39. speedier

    speedier Senior Member

    Absolutely! I'd use No probs. or, more likely, 'sokay, (short for "that's OK").
  40. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    'Sallright is my usual answer:)

    Moderator reminder: Ta is covered very thoroughly in this thread.
  41. eli-chi Senior Member

    And mine is: which is/are the appropriate one(s) when someone uses 'cheers' for "regards" or "good-bye"?
  42. Nenaya New Member

    American English
    Hi! Ok I'm American and I have a specific question about the use of cheers for meaning thanks. If I'm in UK and standing in line and I sneeze and a stranger says "God bless you" or whatever, can I say "cheers" ? I mean does the use of cheers fit in this particular instance? I want to know if it's totally normal or not. If I smile and then say "cheers" does it help it fit better? I thought it fit at first but now I think it doesn't fit but I'm not sure why.
    Is it awkward because cheers=thanks is only when someone actually does something for you or gives you something, like if you're walking and someone says "watch your step,there" and you can say "cheers" because they've actually helped you but in an instance where you're sick and someone nicely says GBU, "cheers" doesn't fit because Gesundheit! is not actually doing anything for you and to say "cheers" suggests that you're showing a snide attitude towards the person's conventional reply? Like, perhaps the pithy offering of "God bless you" to a sneeze is such an automated/obligatory response that "cheers" is too enthusiastic+informal for a reply to a stranger that it sounds a bit snarky? I don't want to sound snide or snarky.
    Or lastly, is it that the cheers in the sneezing scenario seems goofy because you're sick and it sounds too...well, cheerful?
    I get the idea that "cheers" only fits if there is a certain attitude behind the "thanks"
    Sorry if this is a bit too analytical but I'm really trying to understand the context behind cheers=thanks.
  43. Cameljockey Senior Member

    British English
    Cheers fits well if you are being very relaxed and informal. In the UK it is slang, and 'thanks' would be more correct and still quite friendly and informal, but I'd be happy to say cheers, with a smile, if I wanted to sound completely unelitist.

    If it was an older person who had blessed me (not easy at my age) I feel that thanks or thank you is more respectful.
  44. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Moderator note: Hello, Nenaya ~ welcome to the forum:). I've merged your question with a previous long thread on this subject. ~ewie
  45. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    I agree with all the points made by 조금만: use with care if you're not British (or Irish, South African, etc.)
    For example, Nenaya, if I was the kind of person who used cheers to mean 'thankyou' (I'm not), I don't think I'd use it after someone said "God bless you" ~ in the unlikely event that anyone in the UK actually said that in the first place. Instead I'd just grunt or smile or do a thumbs-up or say, "Wow! you just said God bless you ~ I haven't heard that since 1974!" It is, as you say, too 'thankful' for a response to the social nicety of blessing someone after sneezing.
  46. Cameljockey Senior Member

    British English
    There are still people who will say bless you to a stranger in my experience. I have lived in S.E.England and Dubai, so maybe there's a difference between North and South? I anyway wouldn't grunt as thanks, and if someone did it to me I'd consider them a bit rude. 'Thanks' is very acceptable.

    'Cheers' is more matey (amongst friends, or people who feel some sort of bond or similarity, even on first impression), also maybe a little lower...class (oh no, I said the word).
  47. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    After sneezing, I tend to hear 'Bless you!' rather than 'God bless you' (at least, I say that). I am also a cheers (= thank you) user in certain contexts (and I'm not necessarily cheerful when I say it), and I don't think it is an inappropriate response particularly to people around your age. I don't agree when Nenaya says the person isn't doing anything for you: that person wishes you good health, and why shouldn't you thank that person? A lot of us value any kind of encouragement proffered - spiritual, psychological, verbal or physical. (At least, I do.)
  48. Gwan Senior Member

    Indre et Loire, France
    New Zealand, English
    I like to say the full "thank you" after "bless you", just because I find the symmetry pleasing. Of course, it wouldn't be quite so symmetrical if they said the full "God bless you", but coming from a more secular society than the States, I don't know if I ever hear that anyway.
    As has already been noted, 'cheers' is very common in NZ (I agree with whoever said it can be used in full sentences as in 'cheers for that'). You also sometimes hear it said (very casually) as 'chur', most commonly as 'chur bro' (thanks, brother). This is essentially a representation of Maori speech (in English, obviously).
  49. MJWatson

    MJWatson Member

    English - Canada
    In Canada, you would never use cheers for thank you. We only use it in the context of making a toast. We might be familiar with hearing a Brit or Australian saying Cheersto mean good bye or maybe cheers mate for thank you, but that's about it.
  50. patienceplan New Member

    British English
    I live in the northeast of England and "Cheers" for thank you is something everyone around here is very familiar with. It's not something that everyone says - it really varies between the basic "thanks" and "cheers" or "ta". I wouldn't even say "cheers" is exclusively used between friends, because it's not. It's not unusual for it to be used as a polite way of saying thanks to strangers for holding a door for them and the like. So yes, "you're welcome" can very easily be used as a response to it because people just understand it as a way of saying thank you anyway.
    Last edited: May 18, 2011

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