Why Would You Choose to Hyphenate ‘Thank You’?

“Thank you” is a commonly used phrase in daily communication, but you may still wonder when and why an hyphen should be used with it. This guide will help clarify the correct usage in various contexts.

When ‘Thank You’ Should be Hyphenated

The phrase “thank you” generally does not require a hyphen. It functions as a verb phrase to express gratitude or appreciation. Example: “Thank you for your help.”

However, you can use a hyphen to form “thank-you” when the phrase is used as a noun or an adjective. As a noun, it stands for a message or an expression of thanks. As an adjective, it describes something that serves to thank or express gratitude.

  • As a noun: “Mark sent Joan a thank-you note.”
  • As an adjective: “I received a thank-you card from my stockbroker.”
Colorful letters

Common Misuse

While both “thank you” and “thank-you” are correct based on specific uses, it’s essential to remember that “thankyou”, spelled as a single word, is never correct.

Mutual Usage

Although “thank you” and “thank-you” serve different grammatical functions, both can be used for expressing gratitude. However, their usage depends on the required context and grammatical structure of the sentence.


Hyphen Usage in British English

In British English, you might have observed the hyphenated “thank-you” more often. It’s because some words, including “thank-you”, had hyphens formerly in many dialects like Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. However, these hyphens have been dropped in recent years in most cases.


To sum up, “thank you” without a hyphen is used when you express gratitude, while the hyphenated “thank-you” serves as a noun or an adjective to denote a message of thanks or an expression of gratitude. It’s crucial always to stay mindful of the context to ensure the appropriate use and effective communication of your gratitude.

Related articles

Leave a Comment