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I'm looking for different ways to say "you're welcome." Is "sure thing" one of those ways?

If it is, then how? I looked up its meaning and it doesn't seem to make sense as a replacement for "you're welcome."

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What sense of "You're welcome"? "Sure thing" could substitute for some uses of "You're welcome" but not others, so a little context would help us considerably. –  user1579 Jun 20 '11 at 11:21
    
What is wrong with "you're welcome?" I interpret "no problem" as a negative response. Problem/negative...Welcome/positive. Why speak the negative when you can be positive? –  user21229 May 16 '12 at 0:32
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You are so very right! Too often in our modernist ratrace, simple courtesy gets discarded into the gutter and trampled over by self-important people oblivious to its value. “You’re welcome” is always a good answer to “Thank you.” There are more flowery versions that should be used when a special reply seems in order, such as “It was my pleasure.” I find cursory responses insincere and sometimes frustrating, but nothing is as horrible a response to “Thank you” than an identical—and thoroughly inane—“Thank you”, which leads to infinite recursion. If people can’t be polite, why talk? –  tchrist May 16 '12 at 3:38

6 Answers 6

I haven't thought of it as "countryside" usage, but I am from a rural part of the US. "Sure thing" is used here all the time to respond to "thank you." It substitutes similarly to "no problem":

Thanks for helping me fix the henhouse.

No problem!

Or

Thank you for attending the barn-raising last week.

Sure thing!

And it is similarly deflective. In other words, "no problem" means "no thanks are necessary; it caused me no trouble to offer you assistance." When you use "sure thing" like this, it is something along the lines of "no thanks are necessary; it is a sure thing (a certainty) that I would help you" or a "you don't need to thank me; of course I would have done that."

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I agree with you! I didn't mean to say otherwise. "Sure thing" is very acceptable as a response to "Thank you" in many parts of the U.S. as part of a conversation. It would be appropriate to use it in dialogue for fiction too. But it isn't standard written usage otherwise. Also, it would be unusual to hear it used in most urban areas in the North-east coastal areas, from Philadelphia up through New York City and Boston and Providence. –  Ellie Kesselman Jun 20 '11 at 13:11
    
@Feral Oh, I didn't mean to suggest that you were wrong. It was interesting to learn that this is a rural expression. I included my answer to help explain why sure thing might be substituted in this way. But I do think you could reply "Sure thing" to "Are you coming?" depending on the context. In that case it's used as an affirmative though, not as a substitute for "you're welcome." –  KitFox Jun 20 '11 at 13:16
    
Ooops! My apologies @Kit That was meant to be a reply to @Mitch I didn't realize I entered it in the wrong place until more than 5 min elapsed. Sorry about that! –  Ellie Kesselman Jun 20 '11 at 13:18
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Just a quick note, I live in New England, just outside of Boston, and I say "Sure thing" as a response to thanks. While it may not be commonly used, I wouldn't say it's unusual to hear it... in fact, hearing "Thanks" is probably more bizarre. –  Mannimarco Jun 20 '11 at 18:55
    
+1 for the good, down-to-earth example –  IsaacS Oct 30 '12 at 16:03

Well neither of the things that are used as replies to "thank you" is particularly logical in the direct meaning of the words

  • you're welcome: welcome originally means 1. gladly and cordially received: a welcome guest, 2. agreeable or gratifying: welcome news, 3. freely and willingly permitted or invited; none of these make direct sense as an answer to thank you. It is only when you think of it as - "Your thanks are welcome." - you can make sense of it
  • no problem: direct meaning again fails, but it is obvious that the answer states that the thing that thank you refers to caused no problem
  • don't mention it: again, direct sense might give you an idea that the thank you is not accepted. As a phrase it plays down the importance of the deed so that the person who benefited from the deed does not feel bound by gratitude
  • it's a pleasure/it's my pleasure: similarly like the previous, what is expressed is that it was a pleasure doing it and that a simple thank you is more than enough
  • not at all/no, thank you: along the same lines, reverses the situation and says that it might be us who need to thank the other party

Similar to this last group I would say that

  • sure(sure thing): is used to convey that it was not a big deal or that you would do that anyway, or that you gave no special treatment, so no special thank is necessary.

Keep in mind that the "thank you/you're welcome" communication pattern (with all variations) is used very frequently; and in such cases most of the information is transmitted non-verbally: tone, expression and body language will determine how thankful or welcoming you will appear.

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In the United States, in a mid-Western regional colloquial usage, or "in the countryside" in general (as in anywhere in the U.S. that is non-urban), the expression "sure thing" can replace "you're welcome". This is very casual usage though.

If using the phrase in a work of fiction, to realistically capture dialogue, "sure thing" would be quite natural sounding. In any other context, other than casual conversation in the geographical areas I mentioned, it would not even be common usage. In most East Coast urban areas in the U.S., "sure thing" would probably be understood as a synonym for "you're welcome", though it would be unusual and maybe remarked upon as being quaint or endearingly "country".

My answer is based on consultation with two different regional speakers just now (first is a skilled tradesman from rural mid-West, second is a young resident of the San Francisco bay area), as well as my own empirical observations.

Both thought it sounded odd to respond to "Are you coming?" with "Sure thing". However, it seemed plausible for the "Can I watch?" example. I think use as a replacement for "You're welcome" is more appropriate.

In summary, the answer is yes, but only in certain circumstances.

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I agree with @Ham and Bacon regarding the example "Thanks for your help" and response with "My pleasure!" as a better choice than "sure thing" as a way of saying "you're welcome". However, it would be more formal usage. –  Ellie Kesselman Jun 20 '11 at 11:38
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'sure thing' is informal but can easily be used in the work place, and is not particularly rural sounding. –  Mitch Jun 20 '11 at 12:35

"Sure thing" is an informal expression that means "Sure/Of course/Certainly"...

Look at this example from the NOAD:

"Can I watch?" - "Sure thing!"

Or this one taken from the OALD:

"Are you coming?" - "Sure thing."

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Those all make sense but the question is how can it replace "you're welcome?" –  language hacker Jun 20 '11 at 10:44
    
I have heard it before, but after a research, the only occurrence I found for that case is in the Urban Dictionary. I have also checked the OED and found the same meaning I wrote in the answer. That makes you think it's rather informal... :D –  Alenanno Jun 20 '11 at 10:47
    
@language hacker: for anything to replace "you're welcome", you'd compare how it sounds as a response to "Thanks". "Sure thing" does not seem a good fit, "No issues"/"No probs" sounds better –  JoseK Jun 20 '11 at 11:20
    
Now what is this down-vote for? –  Alenanno Jun 20 '11 at 12:50
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Since it's at least as correct an answer to this (poor) question as anything else, I've given you a compensatory upvote ;-) –  user1579 Jun 20 '11 at 13:07

Frankly, "sure thing" isn't another way to say "you're welcome".

"Sure thing" defined:

all right! yes indeed! used to express enthusiastic assent

As you can see, it is used as an assent, but not as a 'ritual reply to thank-you'.

If you're looking for some other ways of saying "you're welcome", you could try:

Thanks for your help!/My pleasure!

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According to the Urban Dictionary, it's a casual and friendly way to say "You're welcome". Joe: Hey man, can you give me a lift? Dave: Yeah, hop on. Joe: Thanks man. Dave: Sure thing.

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