This is about whether you can use welcome in a "non standard (mistaken?) way" to mean the most usual meaning usually associated with it? The following casual examples will showcase what I mean:

  1. — Thank you.
    — Welcome (to mean you're welcome).

  2. [ I arrive at some friends' place ] — You're welcome to our home! (to mean Welcome to...)

This sounds off to me. The first example must use a verb i.e. you're welcome if one is expressing gratitude here, otherwise this is about welcoming someone; the second sentence means I'm free to use the house as I please in my book, as it's not using welcome alone or we welcome you.

Considering what was intended in terms of meaning here, are those blatant mistakes or does context make it "right"; is there some kind of informal leeway with the language in that respect? Will a native speaker ever say this to mean that?


3 Answers 3


In general and in short No and No (in other words, native speakers do not do what you describe). In both cases, the context does not make such expressions right or override the standard phrasing/usage.

1) It is possible that some cloyingly ebullient person might respond to Thank you!


Welcome!!!!! :) :) :) :)

But depite this possible annoying exception, the response is a fixed phrase. This is true even though we do shorten such commonplace sayings as "good night" and "good evening" and "good morning" to "night", "evening", and "morning." We can also go verbless in the following phrases, all of which mean the same:

Happy? You happy? You happy now?

Which stand for "Are you happy now?"

In my experience, even the surliest of persons will say the you're in "you're welcome" even if only under her breath and barely audible. In sum, "you're welcome" is a fixed expression said in its entirety 99% of the time. See also Just "Welcome" to reply to "Thank you"?.

2) Again, no. Someone might say this, because like you they are curious about language usage or how their friend might react to such an utterance. But "Welcome to our home" is not even used that often. This is shortened to "Welcome!" and the context makes it clear that you are extending a welcome (friendly greeting) to your home, and not giving them free reign therein. This is why we have "welcome mats" and not "you're welcome mats." The one mat saying 'you're welcome' is described as response to "thank you," as in case Number 1.

  • Thank you! Such pragmatism! It's fixed but people may barely utter the verb in response to thank you, so it may appear even to a native speaker that they're dropping words and using them by implication. It would be interesting indeed to analyze whether the speaker generates "precursor" phonetic elements and how much of it is required for it to be acknowledged by another speaker; is it those or context that "make it happen" - or both. I've been speaking the language for a very long time but I can see I've barely scratched the surface; what an amazing language. Cheers!
    – user16335
    Jul 16, 2015 at 22:21

Idiomatically, You're welcome to X often implies [I don't want X, but] you can have it if you want it.

It's possible to use the preposition to in OP's context, but bearing in mind the above, it might be safer to stick to (probably, more common) alternatives such as...

You're welcome in our home!
You're welcome at our home!

  • Thank you! I didn't know there was that "I don't want X, but" component. In any case I gather from what you say that the preposition may be more important than the auxiliary in order to have something idiomatic in context.
    – user16335
    Jul 16, 2015 at 22:06
  1. Is standard and correct. We often leave out elements of speech that are understood to be there because they are predictable in context. Just as your thank you has no uttered subject.

  2. Is not what is commonly said in the situation. We would leave out the initial you're.

  • Thank you! Does your first point apply when writing the language? Generally can I presume that in English if it works with speech, it also works when I write?
    – user16335
    Jul 16, 2015 at 22:09
  • We do often leave out words in writing as well as in speech, but the choices we make are often different. Grammar patterns in speech are much different than in writing. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis_(linguistics). Jul 17, 2015 at 3:23
  • Thank you, that is insightful. So if I understand correctly, both "thank you" and "welcome" as an answer work in a way because their construct properly echoes a catena which is absent here (I / you're). I'll give more thoughts to that. Thanks again!
    – user16335
    Jul 17, 2015 at 3:51

You must log in to answer this question.