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In a radio show (such as APM Marketplace), when a host interviews a guest, the conversation ends with the host saying "Thank you" and the guest saying something similar in response.

Usually it is "Thank you" or "Great to be with you" or "My pleasure".

Often they respond with "You bet", which really puzzles me. I am aware of the idiom, but even that doesn't make sense in this situation.

My questions are:

  • What exactly is that supposed to mean here?
  • How did it become one of the standard responses to "Thank you" in this context?
  • Is it a good response to "Thank you" in real life, i.e. outside of the radio show?
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    It means the same thing as “Certainly!” or “Sure thing!” or “Indeed!” in the same context, expressing emphatic agreement or steadfastness. – Bradd Szonye Aug 2 '13 at 7:03
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    For that matter, what in the world does "you're welcome" mean? – JeffSahol Aug 2 '13 at 15:07
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    @JeffSahol I used to assume it meant 'You're welcome to my service', but a lot of people think it means 'You're welcome to thank me' and thus think it rude. – Aeon Akechi Aug 16 '16 at 20:22
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    @Nothingatall Don't get me started...you're making me think of the "no problem" response that has caught on recently. – JeffSahol Aug 17 '16 at 15:40
  • I've always assumed that "you bet" is a shortened version of "You can bet your life on that", and similar expressions. Originally it meant "That's certainly true" or "I guarantee it" or some such, but has morphed to mean simply "You're welcome" in many cases. No, it doesn't make sense, but that's the way such things go. – Hot Licks Sep 12 '16 at 1:44
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The phrase "you bet" is the equivalent of saying "that's for sure." Essentially, the speaker is replying in the affirmative. The extension of the idiom to the context of a radio show can be interpreted to mean "you can count on me." When the radio show host is ending the interview with the guest, he is telling the guest that his time is appreciated. Replying with "you bet" is positive feedback that the guest has fulfilled his role.

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    "he is telling the guest that his time is appreciated" — exactly. So, "You bet" as a response sounds like "Of course my time is appreciated!" or "Of course you are grateful", which to me seems rude. What am I missing? – user2978 Aug 2 '13 at 8:03
  • I am with @RC in the previous comment, it seems rude to me. I asked a customer to do something, he did, I said "thanks", he said "you bet". It seems to me like he was not happy with the fact that I have asked him to do that instead of, let's say, doing that myself. Is that what this means? Like: "ok, you're thankful but don't ask me that again"? – jfoliveira Aug 11 '14 at 12:14
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    @JefersonOliveira I've never felt that the phrase you bet was in any way rude or flippant. To me, it is a more enthusiastic response than a simple you're welcome. You bet means "you can bet on it" — it is a way of saying "you can always expect the same from me." – ghoppe Sep 9 '14 at 23:03
  • Thanks @ghoppe! I'm glad to hear that this an enthuasistic response! :-) – jfoliveira Sep 15 '14 at 19:50
  • @ghoppe I'm from Texas and this is certainly what you bet implies here. You could also think of it as short for (the somewhat tedious, and never stated) "you bet you're welcome." – Daniel Oct 17 '18 at 20:19
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Just came across this blog randomly, but I couldn't help but weigh in and agree with Andrew Ng. I live in the southeastern United States... born in North Carolina, raised in Georgia, currently practicing law in Mississippi. In the "South," as we like to call it here, the reply "You bet" is an extremely common phrase. As Andrew Ng pointed out, using the response "You bet!" is about like saying: "Sure! Anytime!" "Absolutely man!" "No problem!" "I really enjoyed it!" "You can count on me to be back anytime!"

I think the phrase comes from the fact that a bet is a wager... to bet means you are affirming something, right? You are betting on it, you are enthusiastic about it.

As a matter of fact, as I am writing this I received a text message from a friend who just invited me to breakfast. However I have already eaten breakfast so I told him to go ahead, that I would call him at noon and we would go play a round of golf. His response was literally, "Bet" which is basically "you bet" for short. In other words, we are on. He is taking me up on my offer. Hope this helps.

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Everyone is just telling you that it is an affirmative answer, which we all already knew.

"You [can] bet [on me being glad/here to help you.]" is how I always took it. I think that is only because of its similarity with "you can bet on it". I have nothing at all to back this up.

I use it all of the time. Every English speaker seems to understand. Non-English speakers wonder why I've said this, and I still have no real answer as to the origins to give them. -ahem-

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It's an idiomatic affirmation. You're not going to understand it by parsing the grammar or semantics. Just accept that it is a contemporary, colloquial alternative to "You're welcome".