How to say 'you are welcome' properly?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jiamajia, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member


    At the beginning of a phone conversation between a reporter and a Chinese embassy press clerk in Oslo, the reporter first thanked her for taking the time to accept the interview. She responded: you are welcome. Then, the conversation continued.

    My teacher comments: Her response 'you are welcome' sounds strange. Rather she could have said 'thank you for having me'. The reason it is strange is that she sounded to end the conversation by saying 'you are welcome'.

    What do you think of my teacher's comment? Thank you.
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    I understand your teacher's point, Jia Ma Jia, but I don't agree that using "you're welcome" always signifies the end of a conversation.

    However, your teacher's suggestion, "Thank you for having me", sounds a little more inviting and informal in that situation.

    Using "You are welcome" was not wrong, though.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  3. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    "Thank you for having me" or the somewhat more florid "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss this" are fine, but "You're welcome" is a perfectly polite response to an expression of thanks in just about any circumstances. In most cases, "You are welcome" is very formal.

    There may be cultural differences here. Perhaps your teacher thought that "You are welcome" was too brief an expression of gratitude or response to "Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed." A little more gracious than "You're welcome" would be "You're quite welcome."
  4. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Your teacher is absolutely wrong; indeed, offensively wrong.

    "You're welcome" is the standard, and practically ritualized, response in American English to an expression of thanks.

    "Thank you for having me" on the other hand, is utterly strange in any variety of English under these circumstances, and if it has any meaning at all in this particular context (which is questionable), it means "thank you for having sexual relations with me."

    It is embarassing that anyone who would present himself or herself as a teacher of English should say anything so ridiculous.
  5. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    It sort of depends on the tone of voice! Your teacher could be right about it sounding strange.

    One version would be that the clerk didn't really want to participate and therefore didn't want to thank the reporter, but out of (limited) courtesy a little grumpily said "You're welcome". That might sound abrupt, but not necessarily indicating the end! Perhaps the tone was of superiority - "you're getting something from me, not the other way round :( "

    Another might be that the clerk had a very pleasant tone of voice and wasn't quite sure what to say except the reflex response to "Thank you"

    The more common, "mutual courtesy response" is the one your teacher suggests and would be natural for someone with experience at this kind of reporting. This would have probably ended "Thanks for taking the time to speak with me" "You're welcome" as the routine exchange.
  6. Merrit Senior Member

    As children, my siblings and I were taught that "Thank you for having me" was not only acceptable, but an obligatory part of saying good bye after being a guest in someone's home. The same formula can be, and sometimes is, used after being a guest elsewhere. However, it does sound rather strange at the beginning of a telephone interview.

    By adding a few more words ("Thank you for having me on your programme/show") it becomes be a pleasantly courteous reply to "Thank you for taking the time to accept the interview". Maybe that was what the teacher meant.

    I still prefer a clear, brief, simple "You're welcome".


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