The thing to which the phrase "thanks to" is attributed usually produces positive consequence. I wonder if there is a negative counterpart.


Many thanks. I have now learned that thanks to can gain a negative meaning via irony. But what if I do not want to sound ironic?

  • 2
    You can also say "no thanks to X". If you are trying to save the day with Jim, and Jim didn't help, you can say "I was able to save the day, no thanks to Jim," which means he didn't help you, so don't thank him for doing it.
    – TylerH
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 19:08

8 Answers 8


I can't think of a specific way to do what you're looking for, so instead I'd suggest a set like the following:

  • Positive outcome, positive contribution: "Thanks to X, Y"
  • Positive outcome, negative contribution: "In spite of X, Y"
  • Negative outcome, positive contribution: "In spite of X['s hard work/good effort/etc], Y"
  • Negative outcome, aligned contribution/causal link: "[In part] due to X, Y"

For example:

  • "Thanks to Paul, we got all our TPS reports done on time."
  • "In spite of Dave's colossal screw ups, we did manage to get all the gold we needed for the pyramid."
  • "In spite of Imhotep's amazing invisibility, the heist was foiled by police."
  • "Due to Grontar's enormous left foot, the ritual circle was ruined."

"Thanks to" works for both positive and negative consequences. You can correctly say "Thanks to X, the project succeeded" and "Thanks to X, the project failed."

Or another dimension is you can say "No thanks to X" if X did not help in any way (or hindered the project), versus saying "thanks to X" because X did help in some way.

  • 1
    Yup. Of the four possible comninations (+/- thanks with +/- outcome), the one you can't normally use is when both elements are negated. "No thanks to X, it went badly" doesn't really work. But you could say "It failed - thanks for nothing, X!" Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 17:54
  • Although it is grammatically correct, it breaks logic. You can't say, "Thanks to X, Y" if Y a negative effect. An effect you would NEVER thank X for. An exception would be if the negative effect benefits you in some way. E.g. – Thanks to cholera my mother died. So I got to inherit everything!
    – q-l-p
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 17:08
  • Isn’t it just sarcasm? Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 2:45

Since you don't want to sound ironic try "In spite of" or "despite"


Yes there is. Look at this...

Damn! The cricket match is cancelled and it was the final match. All thanks to rain!

We are just being ironic there. Here, thanks to would mean due to/or because. Similar thread here.

  • 2
    Actually, "thanks to rain" in your example sentence sounds wrong. You could write, "Thanks to rain, the cricket match is cancelled" and the irony could still be detectable. But "thanks to X" is rarely used as a sentence all on its own as in your example.
    – Alicja Z
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 18:13
  • If you're trying to sarcastically thank the rain, that would be "Thanks, rain!" It's not strictly grammatical but I suppose you could write "Thanks to rain!" like that as a stylistic way to suggest massive surprise that it was rain -- maybe because the match was in a place where it never rains. A similar construction would be "Damn! The cricket match was interrupted. By a badger running onto the pitch!" Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 18:23
  • I think leaving out the to part sounds more natural in spoken English. …it was the final match. Thanks, rain!
    – kojiro
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 23:28
  • @AlicjaZ A little change. It can now certainly stand on its own I think.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 4:49
  • See also: the Thanks, Obama meme. Thanks, Obama!
    – neminem
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 21:21

In the UK, "no thanks to" is a common opposite. As in:

I made it to work on time, no thanks to the weather!


Andy Murray got through to the final, no thanks to the doubters, and went on to win.

  • yeah when I saw this one I thought that's easy, and then I was surprised to scroll through the top answers and not see any mention of "no thanks to"! though maybe by negative counterpart he meant more along the lines of 'blame it on' as he says negative consequences
    – barlop
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 22:54

A suitable counterpart of "thanks to" would be "because of": "Thanks to X, the project succeeded" "Because of X, the project failed."


"Because of ...", "as a result of ..." or "due to ..." They assign responsibility but without a positive or negative connotation, whereas "thanks to ..." implies a certain amount of happiness about the situation (unless it's used ironically).


I'm a spanish speaker and we say "por culpa de" which would be literally "by fault of" which makes sense to me but I have seen it just a few times really.

  • "By fault of" would be ungrammatical in English so this doesn't really help. Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 11:30
  • Mm sorry. How do people use "by means of" and what's the difference? + Couldn't we use "blame on"?
    – user5659
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 23:16
  • "He did X by means of Y" means "He did X, by using Y"; e.g., "They succeeded by means of great skill." "By fault of" just doesn't exist though, curiously, "By no fault of" does ("through no fault of" means the same and is more common); e.g., "Through no fault of her own, Jane missed the train." However, this is a rather unusual construction and I think it's best to treat it as an idiom, rather than trying to replace "fault" by other words. "Blame on" doesn't work at all. Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 23:36
  • I see... Thanks for explaining it to me; I could make a new question with all the doubts this brought to me... It still makes a lot of sense to me to say both, but I understand very little of grammar :$
    – user5659
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 3:05

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