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Recently, I came across a comment where a native English speaker stated that it is not "you are welcome" but "you're welcome". It was a side-comment as the original post wasn't about their difference; thus, there wasn't any further explanation for that.

I have always thought there isn't any slight difference between the two versions such as in other sentences with contractions with the verb be except that they would show more emphasis on it when it is in its full form.

After searching about this, I've ended up with one possible reason why "'re" may be more preferred than "are" in that specific phrase. It is because it's more usual to be used among natives. Ngram supports that too

So, is it a matter of being usual and unusual? Or does it have other issues that make it not a phrase to use when expressing thankfulness?

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The two sentences mean the same exact thing. However, as a native English speaker in the US, I would absolutely say it's far more common to hear You're welcome.

You are welcome is a phrase I've said on multiple occasions, but it was to stress the sincerity of the statement. Actually saying "you are" rather than the contraction "you're" is unusual, which is why I specifically used it to stress the meaning.

In regular conversations, you'll almost always hear "You're welcome".

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    So that's why the phrases You are more than welcome! and You are most welcome! take the full form of the verb be as they express more warmness? – Tasneem ZH May 3 at 18:37
  • @TasneemZH I would agree with that, yes. – CrescentSickle May 3 at 18:40
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    @TasneemZH By that same argument, "You are more than welcome!" should be more commonly used, but it isn't. People most often express only a minimum of gratitude. – CrescentSickle May 3 at 18:48
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    @TasneemZH Except as humans, we tend to be lazy in our speech...some languages more so than others - hence the existence of contractions in the first place. Greater precision requires more time and effort and in today's "busy" world...who has the time for that. Which of course makes it even more meaningful and powerful when you do take the time to be precise and clear...you convey that the other person is worthy of such time. – wolfsshield May 3 at 18:49
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    Thank you, CrescentSickle, for providing such a great, clear explanation and for answering my sub-questions. – Tasneem ZH May 3 at 18:53
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As a native speaker, there is no difference. Anyone throwing a fit about this may as well throw a fit about a Boston accent vs a London accent, yet there would be more confusion in communication due to the accents than to your preferred usage of "You are welcome".

The meaning of "You're welcome" is "You are welcome"

There used to be a day when certain academics complained about the use of contractions in speech and papers - said it was improper/unprofessional to use contractions in academia or the workplace.

As an illustration, there is an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation where contractions is a major point in the show. If I recall correctly they were able to determine the identities of Data and his brother based on which could use contractions.

Now if I were to say "you've worn out your welcome", then that's something else. It means I may have granted you hospitality before, but you've stayed too long or offended me in some way that I have become less hospitable and wish you to leave. But in this case welcome is a noun, and the previous was an adjective.

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    Are you saying that "are welcome" have some sense of formality than the other one so if I were to talk with people with high-positions and states, I should use the full version of it? – Tasneem ZH May 3 at 18:45
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    @TasneemZH Any one who speaks or writes without contractions is speaking more formally, yes. Someone who never does, may not fit in socially in some groups, and those who only use the contractions may not fit in to other social groups. In the first case they may be viewed as too stiff/stuffy, a high brow type that doesn't have fun and cannot relax. In the latter case, some may view them as incapable of being serious. – wolfsshield May 3 at 18:54
  • I agree. Thank you for your answer, examples, and this valuable comment. – Tasneem ZH May 3 at 18:56

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