When you hear a phrase often enough, you don’t really think about its specifics. But if you stop for just a moment, you may have to ask yourself: is it “you are welcome” or “you are welcomed?” Have you just been mishearing it all this time?
In this post, we’ll cover what you need to know about this phrase and the correct way to use it, as well as some helpful examples to drive the point home.
You Are Welcome or You Are Welcomed?
The correct form of this common phrase is “you are welcome.” The phrase “you are welcomed” would only be used as a form of invitation, whereas “you are welcome” is said in response to an expression of gratitude, such as “thank you.” Both are correct in particular contexts.
To be a little more specific, if you are thinking of the phrase that is often uttered after someone says “thank you,” then the correct phrasing is “you are welcome.” This is when you are using welcome as an adjective to describe someone (the person is welcome).
The other version, “you are welcomed,” is when you are using “welcomed” as a verb, in the same sense that you would say “you are invited.” Neither is wrong, but they are only correct in their proper context.
You Are Welcome
This phrase is almost exclusively used as a response to someone expressing gratitude, generally for some action of yours. In this context, “welcome” is an adjective, used to describe the grateful person as “accepted” or “happily received.” So, “you’re welcome” shows your acceptance of their gratitude.
Of course, “you’re welcome” is effectively a standalone sentence, but there is another context in which you would use this phrase, and that is if you were specifying that someone is acceptable to you. For instance, if you wanted to let someone know that they can sit with you at lunch, you could say:
- You are welcome to sit with me if you’d like.
This would be the proper way to use this phrase in any such scenario. If you want to tell someone that you are happy to interact with them, you can use this phrase. You can also use the phrase to indicate that someone is allowed to do something. You can use “you are” and “you’re” interchangeably:
- You’re welcome in my home anytime you’d like to visit.
- You’re welcome to join us for dinner if you are hungry.
- You are welcome to attend to the wedding if you can make the time.
- If you’re in trouble, you are always welcome here.
- Remember, you are welcome to come home at any time.
- Jack: Thank you very much for spending the day with me.
- Jill: “You’re welcome.”
- Samantha: I just want to thank you for brining me this pie.
- Jordan: You are welcome, I’m glad you like it.
You Are Welcomed
There are some scenarios in which it is appropriate to say, “you are welcomed.” Namely, when you are making a statement about the fact that someone is actively invited to do something. This is when you would be using “welcomed” as a verb. Below are some examples of how you would do this:
- You are welcomed into our home with open arms!
- You’re welcomed into the shady inn by a mysterious stranger.
- Though you are a stranger, you are welcomed into my abode.
- You’re welcomed into the council, but we do not grant you the rank of master.
- You are welcomed to join the meeting, if you wish.
- You are welcomed to visit my store in town.
Most of the time, a perfect synonym for “welcomed” in this sense is “invited.” You could replace welcomed with invited in any of the example sentences above and have the same message. While either one is correct, saying “you are welcomed” is a bit dated, and not often said by people today.
Which Is Used the Most?
Without question, “you are welcome” is used several times more frequently than “you are welcomed.” In fact, thanks this graph from Google’s Ngram Viewer, we can see just how massive the difference in use is between the two phrases.
Even as far back as 1950, “you are welcome” was used several times more frequently than “you are welcomed.” The difference becomes even more significant in the modern era, with “you are welcome” being approximately 50 times more common than “you are welcomed” in 2019.
Needless to say, “you are welcome” is by far used the most between the two phrases. It is extremely common and no one today would bat an eye if you uttered this phrase. Meanwhile, most everyone would probably assume you misspoke if you were to say “you are welcomed.”
Please note that this does not mean “you are welcomed” is wrong. Grammatically speaking, as long as it is used in the right context, it is perfectly acceptable. But the niches in which it would be used are few, and even in those niches, there are more common ways of saying the same thing.
The proper phrase to respond to “thank you” is “you are welcome.” If you were inviting someone to do something, you could say “you are welcomed” but this is not a commonly used saying in modern times. It would be more common to say “you are invited.”
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.