When someone says
Is it appropriate to respond with
If so, in which situations it would be OK, and what exactly would it imply?
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Yes, this is a common, idiomatic response among English speakers where I live (California). It's casual, so it's mainly used for the kind of casual situation where people would say "Thanks" all by itself, like in the following:
"Could I have some of your sunscreen?"
"Sure, here you go."
But in the following it would be out of place, because the context is not casual and the thank-you is a big deal:
"After my wife died, I was really lost. Your friendship meant a lot to me. I don't know what I would have done without you. Thanks."
Some people also have very strict ideas about manners, and might object to "sure" in all cases, even casual ones.
It depends on the person you are speaking to and the way you say it.
I don't think sure is a common way to respond to thanks, because it's potentially ambiguous. It could be interpreted as a shortened form of:
, which is equivalent to Anytime! or You're welcome! It could also be interpreted as:
Sure you are...
, which is a sarcastic (read: rude) way of expressing your doubt that they are really thankful.
I would strongly suggest you only reply with Sure in a casual setting. You also want to make sure you say it with enthusiasm to avoid misinterpretation. Note the differing punctuation in my two examples.
Even better, respond in full: say Sure thing!. 'Fewer words' does not always mean 'preferable'.
in which situations it would be OK, and what exactly would it imply?
It would be okay in the USA.
If you said it in the UK, it would imply that you are using American English.
As has been said in comments, this may or may not be understood in other places than North America. If it is understood, then it is through watching American TV and cinema.
In Britain, I would expect, "You're welcome", "No problem", "Not a problem", "That's okay" or even just a smile or a nod of acknowledgement.
Depending on the exact context, some traditionally-minded people in Britain might say, "My pleasure" or "It was nothing", or (very old-fashioned) "Think nothing of it".
In Australia (I'm not an expert), I might expect, "No problem", "No worries", "You're welcome"
See comment by @mdewey. In Britain the phrase "No worries" is increasingly used. If my memory serves, it came into use here after the release of the movie Crocodile Dundee where the phrase was used a lot by Australian characters.
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I'm American, born and raised, and even I wouldn't say "sure" unless I'm using it dismissively. Trying to get across that I don't care about their gratitude. This is just a product of my childhood though. When I was in Middle-school I had a teacher that would always send me out of class for responding with "sure" so to me (and her I guess) it has a negative annotation. Now I just respond with "anytime", using various levels of sarcasm to get my feelings across.
It's only standard in parts of the USA, as far as I know. In Eastern Canada*, "sure" comes across as rude. We normally say "(You're) welcome" or "No problem" instead, or maybe "Don't mention it", "My pleasure", or "No worries". But if it's an American saying "sure", I think most Canadians will know what they mean, and not be offended.
For context, there's a cultural aspect to this: in general, Canadians and Americans are equally nice, but Canadians take a polite angle, while Americans take a modest angle, downplaying their generosity.
* I can't speak for anything west of Quebec
While I would not consider replying with "Sure" to be polite, I have noticed that it is extremely common among Indian English speakers to reply with "Sure" in this context as a normal reply. Here is an example:
"Thanks, I appreciate the explanation you gave."
For a frame of reference, I am a traditional fellow from the deep South and hearing "Sure" in response to an expression of gratitude in formal or business contexts comes across as shockingly improper at best, and dismissive or sarcastic at worst, depending on tone. I personally would not ever say it.
In a very informal context with close friends and among the younger generations, saying "Sure, no problem," or "Sure, anytime," are more common. I cannot think of a time I have heard "Sure" by itself without it being deliberately sarcastic or dismissive, however.
I don't even get the "sure thing" example, actually. You think it's a sure thing that I'm thankful? I'm not sure what that would mean but I don't think it's flattering. If the OP finds themselves in a group for which this seems to be convention, then, fine, go with it. If there's any chance that that the conversation partner is actually going to try to process its meaning, I'd avoid it...for sure.
Depends what they're responding to thanking you for but usually it means you messed up if they respond to you with sure or they wronged you.
Like if I asked for a cigarette and said thanks and you said sure I'd probably offer you the cig back because your welcome is the standard response. It doesn't hurt to ask why but your judgement could get you hurt.
Usually everything's kosher to speak about, your reaction should be too.
If your having a bad day or series of days it doesn't grant you the right to take it out on others. many people don't get the help they need. So they behave inapropriatly and I've seen it from many others so they assume a story or idea of a person, some kind of fictional perception aka a stereotype and make false judgements and daring Gamble's of a person's life experience without any credibility to their claims as we see in most hateful people regardless of race gender, name or most experience, knowing every minute second detail is too much for a man or woman today to be able to accomplish. Theirs details about us we don't know if and other and sometimes some details were unsure of.
The person (in my case) would say sure prior to giving you the reason to say thanks because if weighed my gift. So sure. Lol.
But sometimes gift giving is boastful to thyself. So we determine how we feel of our brag. Sometimes the boasting is seen as "cocky" but I agree. Boasting is being cocky. It doesn't look good to hate.