A Brief History of "Thank You"

Thank You is Not New

Expressing gratitude is not a new custom. Many centuries ago, in ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures, people would write messages of thanks on pieces of papyrus or bamboo slips.

During the Middle Ages, the practice of writing thank you notes continued, but was reserved for use by royalty and the aristocracy as most of the general population could not read or write.

In the 15th century, handwritten letters became more common throughout Europe. People began writing letters to show their gratitude for gifts and kind gestures. This was the precursor to today’s modern “thank you note.”

Here in the United States, thank you notes gained in popularity in the 19th century. Etiquette experts encouraged people to send handwritten notes to show thanks for even the smallest gestures.

Personalized stationery and thank you cards became commonplace in the 20th century, and the practice of sending thankyou notes continues today. Whether receiving a gift or attending an interview, handwritten thank you notes are a simple, yet effective way to show appreciation for the kindness of others.

Where Did it Come From?

The phrase “thank you” can be traced back to the Old English language, where it was written as “bancian” and pronounced “thahn-kyahn.”In Middle English, the word evolved to “thanken” and from there became our modern English “thank.”

Writing Thank You Notes Today

Have you ever struggled to write a polished, sincere thankyou note? The American School of Protocol’s simple four sentence method ensures that your thank you note will be clear, concise and well-received.

1.   The first sentence is about the gift or event (e.g. Thank you for the beautiful birthday gift.)

2.   Sentence two is also about the gift or event (e.g. I have always loved colorful scarves.)

3.   The third sentence is unrelated (e.g. I can’t wait to see you again next month.)

4.   The last sentence is about the gift or event (e.g. My lovely scarf will remind me of you each time I wear it.)

Remember to include a greeting at the beginning and a signoff at the end of the message, and you will have crafted a perfect and sincere thank you note!

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