6

What is the difference between Thanks God and Thank God, and can we use them in the same situation? For example:

God gives us relatives; thank God, we can choose our friends.

Can we use "Thanks God" instead of "Thank God"? If not, why?

  • 1
    What is the message you are intending to communicate? What is the context? As stand-alone utterances, only the latter is used. – Tyler James Young Jun 2 '15 at 19:04
  • 4
    You would only use "Thanks, God" (with a comma) if you were speaking directly to God. Or when you were speaking of another person, e.g. "Bill thanks God for that". – jamesqf Jun 2 '15 at 19:14
  • 2
    I’d like to know what you think the differences are, what each phrase means to you, what you have noticed about the differing definitions of “thank” and “thanks”, where you have encountered these phrases. I’ve understood what you’ve written so far and I’m asking for details, please. – Tyler James Young Jun 2 '15 at 19:32
  • 2
    There's also the phrase "Thanks be to God"... Which has the plural and would be correct. – Catija Jun 2 '15 at 20:41
  • 1
    How did this question ever get closed! GGrrrr... Harrumph - times two. – Araucaria Jun 3 '15 at 16:42
9

"Thanks" is an abbreviation of "thank you", so "Thanks, God" would be saying thank you as if speaking to God itself. "Thank God" is a phrase spoken to someone else, suggesting that they are thankful to God for their good fortune.

Some Examples:

After narrowly avoiding a car while riding his bike, James looked up at the sky and said, "Thank you God!"

"Thank god!", responded Jennifer after hearing that James was unharmed.

I'm not certain but it seems like the phrases expand to:

  • Thank God > Let us thank God
  • Thanks, God > Thank you, God
  • 3
    The informality of “Thanks, God” would probably connote sarcasm by default, especially in the cultural context of “Thanks, Obama” etc. – Tyler James Young Jun 2 '15 at 19:07
  • 1
    @Tyler James Young - That's probably true, although "Thank you God" would carry less of a connotation. – dexgecko Jun 2 '15 at 19:10
  • Whether a phrase is taken sarcastically depends on tone (if spoken) and context. If someone said, "Yes! I was hoping I'd get this job, and I did! God must have really been with me in that interview. Thanks, God!" that would be taken as informal, I suppose some might take it as inappropriate to address God so informally, but there'd be no reason to take it sarcastically. On the other hand, if someone said, "I prayed and prayed that I would get this new job, but they gave it to someone else. Thanks, God", I'd take that as sarcastic. – Jay Jun 2 '15 at 21:35
  • 2
    I think "thank God" is most often an interjection that is basically a slang phrase meaning "I'm relieved" or "I'm happy", and not really a literal reference to God. Like if someone says -- please excuse the language here -- "God damn you!", I think he very rarely is making a serious theological statement about the state of your salvation. It's just a slang term meaning "I hate you." – Jay Jun 2 '15 at 21:38
2

Thank God!
Thank heavens!
Thank my lucky stars!

are all interjections expressing a grateful emotion or sentiment. It can be expressing more of a relief that you found your car keys or eye glasses or purse or cell phone...

*Thanks God

is not a standard expression. In other words it's an error to use it by itself.

As others have said, you can have

Thanks, God.
Thanks to God...
Thanks be to God...

The last one is slightly strange sounding due to its use of the subjunctive.

  • All looks good to me. It's worth noting that there's an implied subject I or we in your first three "interjection" examples (similar to the implied you in imperatives like Be quiet!). Or you could see it as short for Let us thank God, I suppose. – FumbleFingers Jun 3 '15 at 17:16
0

You would only say "Thank God". "Thanks, God" would be colloquial in a strange way.

Religious individuals will often turn to the sky and say something more formal, perhaps "Thank you, my lord" in a rare and very positive circumstance. However, many people will say "Thank God" at any small positive thing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.