Thanks but no thanks

Discussion in 'English Only' started by LQZ, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. LQZ

    LQZ Senior Member

    Dear all,

    Could you kindly clarify what thanks but no thanks exactlly means to me? Thanks.

  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    "Thanks but no thanks" is a way of saying that the speaker or writer wants to be courteous by saying "thanks" for the offer, but really doesn't want whatever it is that is being offered; thus, "no thanks". "No, thanks" is a common way of saying "Thank you, but I don't want it."
  3. LQZ

    LQZ Senior Member

    Aha, so interesting, thank you, owlman5, I've got it.:)
  4. csicska Senior Member

    <Merged with an earlier thread>


    I was wondering what it means "thanks but no thanks" in Offsrping - The meaning of life? Does it mean "thanks for nothing"?
    Woh yeah, woh yeah
    Open wide and swallow their meaning of life
    Can't make it work your way
    Thanks but no thanks, woh

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2015
  5. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    What is "Offspring"? A book, a poem, a movie, a documentary? Please give us some details and tell us what the context is.
  6. csicska Senior Member

    Offspring is a music band from California. And context is a part of lyrics I written in my first post. Thank you for your kindness.
  7. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    When someone offers you something which you don't want and you are being very polite, you thank them for offering it to you:
    "Thank you for your kind offer." (Thanks)
    then you politely refuse the offer:
    "No, thank you, I don't need any eggs today." (No thanks)
    A shortened form of this would be:
    Thanks, but no thanks.
  8. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    I agree with Myridon, except that in practice "thanks but no thanks" is often used kind of sarcastically. The words are polite but often the tone of voice or the context in which they are delivered makes it clear that the speaker is actually being sarcastic. Song lyrics are so abbreviated that it's hard to tell if that's the case here.
  9. csicska Senior Member

    So he is probably saying "Thank you for your offer, but I don`t want it!"?
  10. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2015
  11. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

  12. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    He is literally saying "Thank you for your offer, but I don`t want it!"

    However, as JustKate remarks, it is unclear whether any irony is intended.
    If it is ironical, then he is not expressing genuine gratitude.
  13. csicska Senior Member

    Thank you. So normally "thanks for nothing" doesn`t mean the same thing, but when used sarcastically it means the same thing, for example:
    A: What food is served today?
    B: Something to eat.
    A: Thanks for nothing = thanks for advice that is worth nothing / Thanks but no thanks = thanks for advice, but I don`t want that kind of advice ?
  14. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    I disagree with JustKate. In my opinion these expressions are used in entirely different situations.

    Thanks for nothing
    is said after you receive something that is of no value.

    Thanks but no thanks is said before you receive anything. It is a refusal of an offer.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  15. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    I see what you mean, Biffo. I think you're right most of the time. There are times when the line between receiving and refusal isn't very clear, though, and in those cases they can mean almost the same thing. I'm thinking of, for example, directions. It's obvious when the directions are given, but when can you actually refuse them? You can refuse to follow them, but they've already been given to you whether you approve of them or not. So:
    C: To reach the canyon, follow this dry stream bed for 30 miles. Watch out for the boulders.
    D: Thanks but no thanks.
    E: Thanks for nothing!

    I think they both work there. I agree that in Csicska's example, "Thanks for nothing" works much better, though.
  16. csicska Senior Member

    Thank you very much. :)
  17. GeogeHalin Senior Member

    There's something about the phrase, "Thanks, but no thanks." that hasn't been discussed that I would like to discuss.
    If I'm in a situation where I really want to politely refuse a offer, do I have to pause a little before saying "But no thanks." Like this "Thanks, but no thanks." The comma implies a pause.
    Or do we say it as if it were one word, like, thank you. As in "Thanks but no thanks." (No pause) ???

    I think native speakers would pause a little in this case, not doing so may sound odd or not as effective (polite).

    Do you agree??
  18. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    I put a slight pause in there ... and by slight, I mean slight. :)

    Sarcastic or funny:
    Thanks, but no thanks.

    Thank you, no.
  19. dn88 Senior Member

    It is obvious that the speaker is not expressing genuine gratitude. He's simply sick and tired of other people trying to make him live the way they do. He wants them to let him 'find his own way,' so he says "Thanks, but no thanks" (= I don't need your "meaning of life").
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  20. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    A plea from the heart dn?! :)
    The default meaning of "Thanks but no thanks." is sarcastic. I would never say it to be polite. I might say it to a friend as a joking form of mild sarcasm. If you want to be polite then Copyright's "Thank you, no" is good. There are other formulae and they depend on context.

    GeogeHalin, could you give a sample conversation for context? That way we can see precisely what you are requesting.

    For example

    Would you like a cigarette/beer?
    No thanks, I don't smoke/drink. <refusal that seeks to end the conversation politely>
    That's very kind [of you to offer] but I don't... <refusal that invites the conversation to continue but on a different subject>

    Do you have a specific scenario?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  21. Bagsensei Senior Member

    <Merged with earlier threads>

    Hello, everyone.

    "Thanks but no thanks."

    I heard the expression from a podcast. When the man is offered something. Is the expression common to native speakers?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2015
  22. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    It's a very common, slightly humorous, expression meaning "Thank you for asking/offering but my answer is no".
  23. stez

    stez Senior Member

    english - australia
    Quite common. It means: Thank you for the offer but no, thank you!

  24. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes, that's quite a common expression. It means thanks for the offer but I don't want to accept it.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
  25. Bagsensei Senior Member

    Thank you so much, everyone for your helpful replies.

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