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Is it correct to say so? Does this mean the same as "thanks a lot"?

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New to me, but but thanks a million might be heard sometimes. –  Barrie England Nov 12 '12 at 8:49
    
Not too many references in search results see here Seems to be not very spread. –  Volodymyr Nov 12 '12 at 8:52
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To answer your other question, yes, I'd interpret it to mean the same as "thanks a lot," "thanks a bunch," "thanks a million," or "thanks much" (or, for that matter, just, "Thanks!"). Also, less common doesn't necessarily imply less correct. It all depends on if you want to say something commonly said, or say something that has a bit more novelty to it. –  J.R. Nov 12 '12 at 8:58
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Don't know about "commonly used", but I am one person who uses it occasionally, and I certainly haven't invented it. –  RegDwigнt Nov 12 '12 at 11:53
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There are many variations, all of the form "thanks (large quantity)". A particular vexing example for a non-native speaker is "thanks loads". –  Mark Beadles Nov 13 '12 at 2:28

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I wouldn't say it's commonly used, but it's certainly not unheard of. This NGram shows that it's not nearly as common as 'thanks a bunch' but it does at least register on the scale. Both pale in comparison to the far more prevalent 'thanks a lot'.

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The commonly used expression, in AmE, is thanks a million. I think thanks a ton has derived from the same expression and eventually found its way to the mainstream. I can't find anything for thanks a ton in NOAD, but see an entry for thanks a million. Furthermore, I can't find the same expression registered in OED, which makes it chiefly American.

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Makes sense. The rest of the world is metric. :-) –  Urbycoz Nov 12 '12 at 10:34
    
@Urbycoz Exactly! I wrote an answer that incorporated that observation. Actually, it is a fact. I feel guilty, as I got the idea from you. I can acknowledge you by name in my answer if you want. Since you didn't answer yourself, I didn't have a URL to include. –  Ellie Kesselman Nov 12 '12 at 11:51
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I don't think it's particularly an "American" variant. It's just a very "non-standard" variant on thanks a million/lot/bundle/bunch/etc. Those last two are particularly likely to be facetious/ironical, but million is usually sincere, and lot can be used either way. –  FumbleFingers Nov 12 '12 at 17:18

In American English, thanks a ton is atypical in written form. I have heard it spoken, not too often though. As others said, thanks a lot, or thanks a million, or thanks a bunch or even thanks much would be spoken and understood more often. Any of those would be informal but not slang usage in written American English.

Ton is not a metric unit, but rather, an English (Imperial?) system unit of the sort we use here in the U.S.A. as mentioned by @Urbycoz in a comment. Despite that, thanks a ton is less common than other expressions, even in American English. You will probably be understood though.

Given that the intent is to express gratitude, it is especially important to be easily understood! I would use an expression where there isn't any chance of misinterpretation.

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+1 for the interesting observations. It got me thinking about our (US) usage of ton to mean "many" as in "Thanks a ton", "heavy" as in "like a ton of bricks", "much" as in "I have tons of homework". –  Kristina Lopez Nov 12 '12 at 18:46
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The ton may be an Imperial unit, but the tonne is a metric unit, and in speech they're indistinguishable. –  Peter Taylor Nov 13 '12 at 8:28
    
@PeterTaylor That is a valid point, regarding pronunciation. I'll revert then to making the case for written form, and mention that "Thanks a tonne" is even more peculiar than "Thanks a ton". Am I responding to your comment logically, or at cross-purposes? I'm confused now, sorry! –  Ellie Kesselman Nov 13 '12 at 14:27
    
If I had a point (which I maybe didn't), it was that without a bit more research there's no obvious reason for expecting it to be more common in en-us than other dialects. (Although I can't find any instance with either spelling in BNC, so if there's one in COCA that would be interesting). –  Peter Taylor Nov 13 '12 at 16:45

protected by Andrew Leach Sep 10 at 6:24

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