• 3-minute read
  • 27th April 2019

Vocabulary Tips: Is ‘Thank You’ One Word or Two?

People often thank us for our proofreading. But even gratitude can cause spelling problems! In particular, it can be tricky to know whether to write thank you, thankyou or even thank-you.

So, is ‘thank you’ one word or two? Check out our guide to find out.

Thank You as Two Words

As a verb phrase, ‘thank you’ is always two words. Or to put it another way, you should always use two words for the act of thanking someone:

Thank you for walking my dog.

We can also use this term as a noun (i.e. something given as thanks):

I’ll send your mum some flowers as a thank you.

Or we can use it as an adjective to modify another noun:

I received a thank you note in the post today.

So no matter how you are using ‘thank you’, you can write it as two words.

Thankyou as One Word

Until recently, writing ‘thankyou’ as a single word was generally considered an error. And some people still don’t like it! But the single-word version of this term is more common now than it used to be, especially as a noun or an adjective. For instance:

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I’ll send your mum some flowers as a thankyou.

I received a thankyou note in the post today.

Alternatively, some people hyphenate ‘thank-you’ when using it as a noun or adjective. So we could rewrite the examples above as follows:

I’ll send your mum some flowers as a thank-you.

I received a thank-you note in the post today.

However, you cannot use these versions of the term as a verb. And you should not write ‘thankyou’ or ‘thank-you’ at all in formal writing unless you’re sure your style guide permits it.

Summary: Is Thank You One Word or Two?

In British English, we almost always write ‘thank you’ as two words. This applies whether you use it as a verb phrase, a noun or an adjective. However, other versions are gaining acceptance.

How you write ‘thank you’ may thus depend on how you use it:

  • As a verb phrase, always use two words (e.g. Thank you for your time).
  • As a noun or an adjective, you can write it as two words, as a single word, or with a hyphen. However, some still consider writing it as a single word incorrect, so use two words in formal writing.

And if you’d like someone to check your writing for errors, get in touch with Proofed today.

Comments (4)
Irene Khoo
8th September 2021 at 08:19
How do I write a thank you note?
    8th September 2021 at 09:02
    Hi, Irene. We have a post about writing a thank you note here: https://proofed.co.uk/writing-tips/5-top-tips-on-how-to-write-a-thank-you-letter-or-note/
Steven Mercx
16th May 2022 at 09:00
Just a contraction of 2 words. I always write it as Thankyou. I’m a typographer 😂😂
    16th May 2022 at 10:24
    Hi, Steven. I'm afraid that the spelling is still wrong by most formal standards (at least for now)! And, to clarify the technical usage of the terms here, a 'contraction' is a combination of words or shortening of a word that includes an omission, like how 'it's' is a contraction of 'it is'. The issue here is whether 'thank you' is an open, hyphenated or closed compound. Hope that helps!

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