When a thank you phrase is followed by an independent sentence that is related to the thanking part, what is the correct and most proper punctuation to use?

There are many possible ones to apply; thus I have chosen the most three in which I think can state correct punctuation:

1- Thank you, it was very helpful!

2- Thank you! It was very helpful.

3- Thank you; it was very helpful.

It doesn't, of course, have to be "Thank you", it may also be:

Thanks - Thank you for what you did - Thanks a lot - Thank you very much - ...etc

I have searched about this matter, but the results I got were all about whether to add a comma after "Thanks" in emails or not. One of the searches

I also think it may be only a matter of style, so if that is the case, then what would a grammarian use?

Note: I would further like to know the formal and informal way of stating the punctuation.

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    Since Thank you is a perfectly valid standalone sentence, I'd have thought the most common punctuation mark to follow it would be a period / full stop (which you haven't included). It's really just a stylistic choice of orthography, but I'd certainly put your semicolon version at the bottom of the pile. Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 16:49
  • I agree with the unrealistic excluding of the period punctuation. But what's wrong with the semicolon? Wouldn't it interpret the sentence as: "Thank you since/because/as it was very helpful."? Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 20:10
  • Although I still use semicolons myself sometimes, I can't deny that's partly/largely because I think I know how to use them; I'm "showing off". Same with the old who / whom chestnut - if you know exactly what you're doing, and you want to appear "erudite", you can throw in the occasional semicolon or whom. But if you don't already know, it's not worth trying to learn things that are falling into disuse; just avoid them. Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 13:28
  • (I don't think there's any bulletproof syntactic or semantic argument saying you can't use a semicolon after Thank you. All that matters is that competent writers rarely if ever do so. :) Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 13:33
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    I doubt you'd find many examples of competent contemporary writers using two semicolons within three consecutive sentences. As Oscar Wilde might have said, To use one semicolon may be considered impressive; to use two looks like careless / ignorant orthographic posturing. Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 12:42

1 Answer 1


All three are possible and are used. A strict analysis might consider "Thank you" to function as an independent sentence and so should end with sentence punctuation, a full-stop or exclamation mark. A comma is very often seen, especially in the conversational style in which one uses "thank you". The exclamation mark should be reserved for situations in which you are expressing more than normal joy about the thanks

In very formal writing (the only sort in which someone would care about comma instead of a full stop) a full sentence should be used.

Thank you. The book token was a nice present.

Thank you! I can't believe you threw a surprise party for me.

We would like to thank you for your interest in this position. However, we have decided not to continue with your application.

  • Thanks for your answer. Would "Thank you" still be preferred to end with a full stop or exclamation mark even if it was followed by a short independent sentence like "You too"? Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 20:06
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    Yes, I think so, but the point that I was making was: If the writing is formal enough to care about the punctuation following "thank you" then it is formal enough to write out a full sentence, like in the final example that I've given
    – James K
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 21:48

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