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A colleague did some work for me (which was his job anyway) and when I said thanks, he said "no thanks". I was puzzled, and asked why he said that. He told me that an American once told him that saying "no thanks" is the same as saying "no need to say thanks", for situations where a person is thanked for doing his job.

Sounds like nonsense to me, but I thought I'd ask it here just to confirm.

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4  
Either he's misremembering the exchange, or that American was messing with him. – T.E.D. Sep 28 '11 at 13:37
    
Some possible alternatives if he was misremembering are "no worries", "no problem", "no bother". – Martin Smith May 11 at 19:49
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Nonsense indeed. They are quite different, if only because "no thanks" idiomatically just means "No, but thank you for offering."

Funnily enough though, "No thanks necessary/required!" is the same as "No need to say thanks."

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Is it grammatically correct to not have a comma after "no" in this case? – Cyril Sep 28 '11 at 12:59
    
@Cyril In which instance? "No, but thank you for offering"? The comma strikes me as necessary. – Jeremy Sep 28 '11 at 15:52
    
No, I was referring to "No thanks." I always thought of it as of "No, thanks" with the comma omitted. – Cyril Sep 28 '11 at 16:25

No thanks is used to decline an offer from somebody.

'Do you want tea?'

'No thanks.'

No need to say thanks is used when someone thanks you for doing something.

So the two are not interchangeable in the context you provided.

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If I said "thank you" and was told "no thanks" I would be quite confused what that person means. I wouldn't even know whether it's polite or insulting. So from a language point of view, it's wrong.

The normal reply would be "you're welcome".

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