A grateful nation thanks you

wanabee

Senior Member
Japanese
Dear all,

When someone has done a good deed for the public, he or she might be praised with the expression "A grateful nation thanks you."
My question is:
1. Which nation is it?
2. A whole nation is grateful to you and thanks you? A nation who is grateful to you thanks you?
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Usually it is the chief of a nation (for example, the president, prime minister, king or queen) or other important official who would make such a statement, which is typically made to an individual, or to another nation, that has done something very special, perhaps involving saving lives.

    Answers to your questions:
    1. The nation represented by the person speaking.
    2. Yes, the speaker is speaking for the nation he or she represents, that is, for the people of that nation..
     

    wanabee

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you very much, Parla!
    I see. Can I ask a bit more about "a grateful nation thanks you"?
    Usually it is the chief of a nation (for example, the president, prime minister, king or queen) or other important official who would make such a statement, which is typically made to an individual, or to another nation, that has done something very special, perhaps involving saving lives.
    Answers to your questions:
    1. The nation represented by the person speaking.
    2. Yes, the speaker is speaking for the nation he or she represents, that is, for the people of that nation..
    If the nation is the one represented by the speaker, how come it's not "the" nation, rather than "a" nation?
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thank you very much, Parla!
    I see. Can I ask a bit more about "a grateful nation thanks you"?
    If the nation is the one represented by the speaker, how come it's not "the" nation, rather than "a" nation?
    As with many idiomatic expressions in English, because that's the way we say it.

    Sorry.
     
    Last edited:

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I don't often disagree with Mr Graham, but I do in this instance. We don't always say it that way, but the speaker may choose to do so. In fact, the speaker might say:
    > A grateful nation thanks you.
    > The grateful nation thanks you.
    > This grateful nation thanks you.
    > Our grateful nation thanks you.

    Any of these would be considered acceptable. It would be up to the speaker which to use.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Google results:
    A grateful nation thanks you – 207
    The grateful nation thanks you – 1
    This grateful nation thanks you – 5 (4 on gravestones)
    Our grateful nation thanks you – 3 (1 on Twitter)

    So use "A grateful nation thanks you" because, as sdgraham says, "that's the way we say it."
     
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