How to write a thank-you letter

thankyouLet’s deal first with the objections. Yes, you’re right, there is no actual need to put your thanks in writing. You said it at the time, you sent a text, you sent an email.

Of course you did, you’re a nice person, and you wouldn’t dream of not saying thank you.

But there’s no harm, is there, in taking social interaction that little stage further, in acknowledging in a more tangible form the bonds which connect us and the part we play in each other’s lives.

There are many occasions when you could write a short note expressing thanks for what someone has given you. What you have received could be a concrete gift, like a birthday present. It could be hospitality, such as a dinner or an evening out. Someone may have done you a good turn, or supported you through a difficult time. Or someone may have given you the greatest gift of all, their time. You may want to thank a professional who has done a very good job for you, an inspiring teacher perhaps, or a dentist who has given you a lovely smile, or a florist who created a particularly effective arrangement.

Begin by saying thanks or thank you right away, and specify just what you are saying thank you for. A generic phrase such as ‘the great birthday present’ doesn’t really cut it. Try something like:
‘Thank you so much for the lovely gloves/gorgeous bath oil/generous cheque/cute babygro.’
‘Many thanks for helping me prepare my job application.’
‘Thanks for such an interesting evening.’

An alternative is to delay your actual thanks, and begin with a personal observation related to the occasion.
‘How could you have known I was looking for a pair of yellow gloves? Thank you for such a well-chosen present.’
‘What a super dinner party! Many thanks for inviting us.’

Then say a little bit more about the gift or the occasion. Be specific.
‘The food was delicious, and I very much enjoyed meeting so and so.’
‘We were honoured to be included in the celebration.’
‘Having you to talk to helped me so much during the last few months.’

If you wish, you can expand this kind of comment with more details.

However, you don’t need to, and you can just sign off. You could finish with something like ‘Once gain, many thanks’ and a warm phrase such as ‘Fondest wishes’ or ‘With very best wishes’.

Aren’t you pleased you took the trouble?