thank-you, thankyou, thank you

SimplyDarling

New Member
English
I've never understood the appropriate way to use the diffrent thank yous. I always see it as "thank you" so that's how I normally write it. If someone could explain it to me I'd really appreciate it and also a way to remember which one to use.

Thanks.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hello, SimplyDarling - welcome to the forums!

    Here's what I do:

    Thank you for your letter - two words
    He sent me a thank-you letter - hyphenated

    But I often feel I'm old-fashioned about hyphenation in particular. I rather suspect you'll get lots of different answers:).
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    I don't think "thankyou" (no space or hyphen) is ever acceptable as proper English, in any English-speaking culture.

    Two words with space between: A phrase expressing gratitude.
    Hyphenated: An adjective describing something that expresses gratitude.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I write two words when it's a verb followed by a pronoun:
    I'd like to thank you all for coming.

    Otherwise I write it as one word:
    You don't need to spend hours on your thankyous.

    She's upstairs writing a thankyou letter.
    Thankyou for all your efforts.

    And I always have.
    I don't think "thankyou" (no space or hyphen) is ever acceptable as proper English, in any English-speaking culture.
    Oh dear.
     

    Sharifa345

    Senior Member
    USA
    US English, DR Spanish
    I don't think "thankyou" (no space or hyphen) is ever acceptable as proper English, in any English-speaking culture. It is definitely not.

    Two words with space between: A phrase expressing gratitude.
    Hyphenated: An adjective describing something that expresses gratitude.
     

    quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    To me, always thank you. Always. Even as an adjective. It is a thank you note. There are many ways to use hyphens and create compound words, but this is not one of them.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I a bit old-fashioned and like my hyphens, so it's thank-you note for me too. Otherwise it is two words: thank you for your invitation.

    I have seen the fused version thankyou as well - not just ewie's - you're not alone ;)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Why the hyphen? As a straight thanking, I spell it as two words. When I use it to modify a noun, I use the hyphen to indicate that the compound is to be analysed as thank you + note/card/etc. rather than some other way. The same way you would write long-term plan, for example.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Respected hyphen-fans, can you justify your dash-lust in a well-reasoned argument?
    Yes - for me, it's the same hyphen as in:

    The tower was a mile high.
    He was confronted by a mile-high tower.


    EDIT: I see Nat's just made the same point:).
     
    Last edited:

    quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Respected hyphenators, let me consider your proposed parallel structures.

    Long-term plan. Long modifies term which modifies plan.
    Mile-high tower. Mile modifies high which modifies tower.

    Thank-you note. Thank modifies you which modifies note.

    Sorry, this does not work. I want to be convinced, but I am not.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    No, it's not to do with the internal modification in thank you. It's to do with how thank you modifies note. Think about 'it's one of those I'm-not-bothered moments'. The hyphenated bit there is a clause. The whole clause modifies moments. No-one imagines that I'm modifies not there.

    Etymologically, thank you would be a clause, presumably shortened from I thank you.
     

    quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    This is what I meant, explained by wikipedia.

    Compound modifiers are groups of two or more words that jointly modify the meaning of another word. When a compound modifier other than an adverb-adjective combination appears before a term, the compound modifier is often hyphenated to prevent misunderstanding, such as in American-football player or little-celebrated paintings. Without the hyphen, there is potential confusion about whether the writer means a "player of American football" or an "American player of football" and whether the writer means "celebrated paintings" that are little.

    Do we need the hyphen to explain that we are not speaking of a you note which is thank?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Quillerbee, the phrasal adjective is only one category of compounds. As I said above, you could have (truncated) clauses modifying nouns too. Think about feel-good factor, must-read article.
     

    quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hi peter, I don't see the connection with "I'm-not-bothered moments". If I am missing something, I would like to know, but just seems like you are saying things fast, so you put a hyphen.

    This is actually quite important, because if I want to tell someone I am wearing my "f### me boots", I should get my punctuation correct. ;)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Hi peter, I don't see the connection with "I'm-not-bothered moments". If I am missing something, I would like to know, but just seems like you are saying things fast, so you put a hyphen.
    No, quillerbee. It is not to do with saying things fast. I would punctuate that way if that was said slowly. As I said earlier, the hyphens tells me about the structure of the noun phrase, that the head noun is modified by a clause. Would you not use the hyphen in my examples in Post 17?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Quillerbee, you're perfectly entitled to write thank you note if you want - all Nat and I have done is describe our usage and the logic behind it:).

    Use of the hyphen is rather a mutable thing anyway: see this Word Wide Words article.
     

    quillerbee

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hi Loob, I enjoyed the example given in your article:

    twenty odd people is not the same as twenty-odd people

    I suppose that since there is no chance for confusion, either way is fine, but I enjoy discovering the one special way which is most clear and elegant and understaning why it is so.
     
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