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Is the word thank in Thank you! a verb? If not, what part of speech is it then? If it is a verb, is it in the imperative mood? I'm asking because I've seen someone write

Do thank you!

which sounds wrong to me1. If it were an imperative verb, the above would be grammatically correct. That's why I started wondering what form it is morphologically.


1 Is it actually wrong? I understand one could say: I do thank you., but is Do thank you! valid? (I suppose it's meant to emphasize thank you)

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As you say I do thank you so you know that it really is (I) thank you , with I in ellipsis. Therefore, there is no special significance to the form of the verb that thank is, I suppose. –  Kris Feb 13 '12 at 14:50
    
@Kris: So... are you implying that Do thank you! is valid? –  Armen Ծիրունյան Feb 13 '12 at 14:51
    
No. You may not use an ellipsis everywhere. Only where an ellipsis can be interpreted would it make sense and therefore be acceptable. –  Kris Feb 13 '12 at 14:54
    
@Kris: OK, I see. So you're basically saying that thank in thank you is indicative mood 1st person singular, just like in I thank you. Is that correct? –  Armen Ծիրունյան Feb 13 '12 at 14:56
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I am just saying that Thank you is I Thank you with an ellipsis. –  Kris Feb 13 '12 at 14:58

1 Answer 1

up vote 17 down vote accepted

"Thank you." is an abbreviation of "I thank you." Thank is a performative verb — a verb where saying it performs the action itself.

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So it's not at all related to "F**k you"? –  Tor Valamo Feb 14 '12 at 2:08
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@Tor That's only performative in a metaphorical sense - typically. –  Karl Knechtel Feb 14 '12 at 2:50
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Is "Fuck you!" also an abbreviation of "I fuck you"? –  Armen Ծիրունյան Feb 14 '12 at 11:20
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@Armen Tsirunyan: Doubtless in earlier/more considered usages such as "Damn you!", you could have said it was an abbreviated "performative", but that's not really the case with modern "Fuck you!", *"Bugger it!", etc. The profanities have switched to a different, more vague grammatical role. No-one would seriously imagine today that "Sod it!" stands in for "I sodomise it!" –  FumbleFingers Mar 14 '12 at 4:37

protected by RegDwigнt Mar 13 '12 at 21:55

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