Do you worry about the right way to thank someone? Should you just say, “thank you”, or is “OK, thank you” a better choice? Do they mean the same thing?
In this article, we will discuss if it is correct to say “OK, thank you” and the right time to use it.
Is It Correct to Say “OK, Thank You”?
“OK, thank you” is correct in a certain context. It is only correct when you need to both acknowledge and thank someone. If you only need to thank someone, it does not make sense to say “OK” along with “thank you”.
“OK” is a form of acknowledgement, so it doesn’t make sense to use it with “thank you” unless you are both acknowledging and thanking someone simultaneously.
For example, consider the following exchange:
- Jim: Thank you for your submission! We will get back to you in a few days!
- Bob: OK, thank you.
In this exchange, Bob receives information relevant to him, as Jim tells Bob to expect contact in a few days. Because this is something Bob needs to acknowledge, he says “OK” before “thank you”. As a result, Jim knows that Bob understands what has been said and is thanking him for it.
You can use “OK, thanks” or “okay, thank you” as well, as “okay” and “OK” are just different spellings of the same word. “Thanks” and “thank you” are also just different ways to say the same thing.
Regardless of spelling, you should always put a comma between “OK” and “thank you”.
This is because there are two ideas in this response. “OK” is acknowledgment of something, separate from gratitude, while “thank you” is gratitude, separate from the acknowledgment. Because the two words offer separate ideas in the sentence, you put a comma between them.
So, it is correct to use “OK, thank you” in the right situations. But if you are uncomfortable using it, we have compiled a list of what to say instead of “OK, thank you” down below.
Other Ways to Say “OK, Thank You”
Other ways to say “OK, thank you” are “alright, thanks”, “I understand, thank you”, and “right, thanks”. All of these phrases offer both acknowledgment of something and gratitude for it. They have different levels of formality based on the word used for acknowledgment.
However, they all mean the same thing. As long as you use the appropriate synonym, you will address someone with the right level of formality.
1. Alright, Thanks
“Alright, thanks” is a phrase that both acknowledges and thanks someone for something. The word “alright” is equal in informality to “OK”. Furthermore, “thanks” is more informal than “thank you”. As a result, “alright, thanks” is a slightly more informal synonym to “OK, thank you”.
It is used in the same situations as “OK, thank you”. It is fitting for informal conversation, but not for anything formal, such as meetings, business emails, academic text, etc.
- I bought that thing that you wanted from the store.
- Alright, thanks.
- Here is your pay for the job.
- Alright, thanks.
2. I Understand, Thank You
To be more formal than “OK, thank you”, use “I understand, thank you”. “I understand” is a very formal way to acknowledge something. “Thank you” is more formal than “thanks”, so “I understand, thank you” is very formal and polite.
It is appropriate for formal settings, such as in professional emails, meetings, and other such settings. However, some people think it too formal for casual conversation.
- Your package is scheduled to arrive on Thursday.
- I understand, thank you.
- Your performance has been recorded. Expect a review soon.
- I understand, thank you.
3. Right, Thanks
“Right, thanks” is very informal and not suitable for any formal situation, because the word “right” is a loose form of acknowledgement that some consider impolite. It is fine for casual conversation, but little else.
If you want to be more formal, substitute “thanks” with “thank you”. However, using “right” is still very informal, because Some consider it to be even less formal than “OK”. Because of this, it’s not recommended to use “right, thanks” outside of the most casual of situations.
- Here’s your hotdog, Jane.
- Right, thanks.
- Don’t forget to buy a gift for Dad, because his birthday is soon.
- Right, thanks! I nearly forgot.
4. Very Good, Thank You
“Very good, thank you” is a formal alternative to “OK, thanks”. However, it is also somewhat dated. “Very good” is a somewhat outdated way of acknowledging something. It is also only fitting when you acknowledge something that is considered beneficial to you.
It is nonsensical to say “very good” if you are acknowledging something bad. However, it is appropriate for acknowledging good things in a formal setting. This phrase is too formal to be regularly used in casual conversation, though.
- Here are the reports you requested, sir.
- Very good, thank you.
- The project is proceeding as planned. We expect to finish in two months.
- Very good, thank you for your report.
5. Very Well, Thank You
Another formal synonym for “OK, thanks” is “very well, thank you”. The phrase “very well” is the same as “very good”. It’s a form of acknowledgment specifically for good things. It does not make any sense to say “very well” when acknowledging bad news.
This phrase is too formal for most casual situations, but it is fitting for nearly all formal ones. It is acceptable to use in business emails, professional meetings, and the like.
- As requested, I’ve made edits to the existing documents.
- Very well, thank you for your hard work.
- The repairs for your vehicle are complete. Here is your bill.
- Very well, thank you for your services.
6. Right Then, Thank You
“Right then” is a somewhat informal means of acknowledgment. It is a way to acknowledge any situation, good or bad, and is not tied to one or the other, which means “right then” can be used in most contexts. “Right, thank you” is also appropriate instead of “right then” if you wish.
However, it is not a good fit for formal situations, as “right then” just doesn’t sound polite. Because of this, it is not recommended for use if you are concerned with being as formal and polite as possible.
- Sam, don’t forget to take your jacket.
- Right, thank you.
- We’ve sent the electronic bill to your email address.
- Right then, thank you.
7. Yes, Thank You
“Yes, thank you” is appropriate if you need to provide someone with both an affirmative answer and acknowledgment. However, it does not make sense if an affirmative answer is not needed as part of your acknowledgment.
It is very polite though, so it is appropriate for many professional and formal settings. Because both “yes” and “thanks” end in an “S”, many consider “yes, thanks” to sound strange. It is recommended to always say “yes, thank you” instead.
- Do you want a slice of this pizza?
- Yes, thank you.
- I can drive you to work, if you need it.
- Yes, thank you for your offer.
Is “OK, Thank You” Appropriate to Use in Emails?
“OK, thank you” is somewhat formal and informal. As a result, it is appropriate in some emails but not in others.
It depends primarily on how casual and informal the person you are writing to is. For instance, if your boss is alright with informality, there is no harm in using “OK, thank you”.
But if the person you are emailing is a stickler for formality, “OK, thank you” is likely too informal to use. It all depends on the level of formality expected in any given situation.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.