Saying Thank you and saying Sorry are two of the simplest and most polite things to do. But it’s hard for some people to express themselves with these two very common words.
Needless to say, these two expressions are important to be a proper and polite individual.
As for non-native speakers of English, they WANT to say these words. But they sometimes can’t because they’re not sure exactly how to say them, and it’s easy to make a mistake.
Even though “Sorry” and “Thank you” are very simple and ordinary, they’re still confusing.
Part One: How to Say Thank you
You have to remember that the word “Thank” is a Verb. This means that you have to follow this pattern:
S + Thank + O.
And if you wanna put a reason why you are thanking someone, you should use the Preposition “For” after it.
(Only “For” and no other Preposition is possible, in the case of “Thank.”)
S + thank + O For Noun
- Or -
S + thank + O For V+ing
Some learners might want to use a Base Verb after “For” (Ex. "Thank you for come") but this is really wrong.
A Preposition such as “For” must be followed by a Noun.
But if you really wanna use a Verb, please use a V+ing Verb.
1. Thank you for coming to my party. (Verb)
2. Thank you for the invitation. (Noun)
3. Thank you for the help. (Noun)
4. Thank you for helping me. (Verb)
5. Thank you for teaching me. (Verb)
It’s also good for you (although it is more casual) to practice the Noun form of “Thank.” As a Noun, “Thank” will become “Thanks.”
But if you use the word “Thanks” which is a Noun, you have to be careful. Of course you cannot use it like a Verb anymore.
This is a common mistake of students:
Thanks you for your advice.= X
Because “Thanks” is a Noun, it can not have an Object after it.
DON'T WORRY. The Preposition Rule is still true. After “Thanks for,” you still need to use either a Noun or V+ing.
1. Thanks for the gift.
2. Thanks for telling me.
3. Thanks for joining us.
4. Thanks for the compliment.
5. Thanks for cleaning my desk.
Like I said, please don't put an Object (Somebody) after “Thanks.”
If you really wanna put an Object after it, then you need to use another Preposition, “To,” because a Noun “Thanks” can’t be followed by an Object, right?
Thanks to you. = Ok
This is also good. But, you know, using “Thanks” with an Object is not so commonly used except this way:
1. Thanks to you, I was able to book a ticket.
2. Thanks to my parents, I graduated from university.
3. Thanks to you, I don’t need to buy an umbrella anymore.
4. Thanks to her, I was able to pass the exam.
5. Thanks to technology, life gets more and more convenient.
Part Two: How to Say Sorry
First of all, you should keep in mind that the word “Sorry” is an Adjective. This means, you always have to use the “Be” Verb before it.
S + be + sorry.
Now, after the word “Sorry,” you can choose either one of two Prepositions: “For” or “About.”
1. I’m sorry for coming late. (V+ing)
2. I’m sorry for my mistake. (Noun)
3. I’m sorry about making a mistake. (V+ing)
4. I’m sorry about what I said. (Noun)
5. I’m sorry for saying such things. (V+ing)
If you want, you can also use “That” after “Sorry.” But if you use “That,” you should use it this way:
S + be + Sorry + that + S + V
1. I’m sorry that I said such things. (“That” can also be omitted)
2. I’m sorry that I shouted at you. (“That” can also be omitted)
3. I’m sorry that I left your book. (“That” can also be omitted)
4. I’m sorry that I was absent. (“That” can also be omitted)
5. I’m sorry that I forgot your birthday. (“That” can also be omitted)
Note: After the word “Sorry,” the Infinitive “To” can also be used. But we’re not gonna discuss it today coz it has a completely different meaning and situation.
Sorry About vs. Sorry For
The two Prepositions after “Sorry” are similar to each other. So, usually, it doesn’t matter which one you use. Either of them is Ok.
But sometimes their meanings are very different. Like this:
Sorry about + Situation
Sorry for + What I did
Ex. Sorry about the noise/ about my busy schedule/ about your cat (it died)/ about the concert (it was cancelled) etc.
Ex. Sorry for my mistake/ Sorry for disappointing you/ Sorry for forgetting/ Sorry for being late etc.
Hope you learned something!