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Some people used to say:

Thank you very much.

Where others say:

Thank you so much.

Could anybody please explain what differences there may be between those, whether of correctness or usefulness or anything else that separates one version from the other.

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now I have the scaffold song stuck in my head –  Sean Cheshire Jul 24 '13 at 18:05

5 Answers 5

I wouldn't agree that either is necessarily "more genuine" as @JohnPeyton has suggested. Intonation and emphasis can affect the intended meaning as much as the actual words used.

Additionally, I think usage will differ between different English-speaking regions and countries, with some nationalities being naturally more reserved, and others naturally more 'gushing'. Thus some will tend to use superlatives much more readily than others, with the result that the former may have to use 'super-superlatives' to express greater thanks!

In summary, and answering OP's direct question:

  • Neither is wrong and hence neither 'more correct'.
  • Both are equally useful, as is just plain "Thank you", "Thanks", "Many thanks", and other variations.
  • I do agree with @JohnPeyton that "Thank you very much" is a little more formal, and "Thank you so much" is less formal.
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‘Thank you so much’ often seems more genuine. It happens to be less formal, and it implies that the person saying it really means it.

‘Thank you very much’ is often used out of courtesy, or to make a ‘thank you’ a bit longer. Sometimes it’s even used sarcastically. Of course, it can also mean what it says, but it’s barely stronger than a simple ‘thank you’—just longer.

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Thank you so much is becoming way over used and doesn’t come off as genuine anymore. It’s almost as if everyone were hypnotized into saying Thank you so much instead of the good old Thanks a lot.

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This is more of a comment than it is an answer per se. –  tchrist May 12 at 20:41

Both of them are grammatically fine.

Having said that, I recently returned to the USA after living abroad for 25 years, and I noticed people using (or overusing) the phrase Thank you so much rather than Thank you very much or Thanks a lot, both of which I remembered being standard things that people used to say.

Saying Thank you so much seems to have become a cliché, and I personally refuse to say it. I am not one to follow verbal fads.

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I agree!. It seems to be used a lot recently. Overused, IMO. And no, @JohnPeyton, it is not being used to say thank you more genuinely. Just the opposite, IMO: It is used mechanically, e.g., in email signatures. I suppose that it was adopted precisely because people thought it was making their thank-you stand out and seem more genuine. Fake genuine, IOW. –  Drew Oct 10 at 20:15

If you dig into your memory banks you will realize that "thank you so much" only became widely used in the last couple of years. Listen to people on TV and you'll now hear "so much" almost exclusively. It is just a pop culture trend. People hear it then repeat it. It is no more sincere than "very much." Watch clips of morning news shows for example,from 5 years ago or longer and you won't hear "thank you so much" at all. It is part of an overall fascination with "so." For example, "I am SO going to the movies." There are no degrees of going to the movies. You are either going or you are not. So is so being so overused now.

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Welcome to English Language & Usage. I dug into my memory banks and I seem to recall Red Skelton using the phrase "thank you so much." I don't think it's all that new in usage, frankly. –  Bruce James Jan 30 at 16:43
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If you dig into my first sentence you will see that I never said it was new ,frankly. I was pointing out a shift in the DEGREE of common usage. The phrase has been around for a long time , just not as the default for most people.Instead of saying"you won't hear it at all"in the sixth sentence I should have said "you will rarely hear it" in older broadcasts .Saying"only became WIDELY used" should have explained that context without this remedial information. –  Jim Lottero Feb 27 at 16:56
    
There may not be "degrees of going to the movies," but there can indeed be degrees of intent or commitment to go, or enthusiasm in going, to the movies: "I am SO going to the movies" indicates, and in a way portrays, that greater intent, commitment, enthusiasm, etc. –  Nicole May 6 at 21:49
    
Data just doesn't support the idea that "thank you so much" is gaining in popularity compared to "thank you very much". I think you have developed a bias against the use of the intensifier "so", and therefore you are more likely to note and remember when you hear the phrase "thank you so much." –  ghoppe May 12 at 21:41
    
@ghoppe: Even if your Ngram's Google-books search fairly represents use patterns worldwide, it says nothing about regional differences. It could be that people in the US (or California or whatever) are being overwhelmed by this cliche, and that this trend has not yet caught on elsewhere. So much the better for elsewhere. ;-) –  Drew Oct 10 at 20:20

protected by tchrist May 12 at 21:26

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