1

The OED defines "thank you" as a polite expression used when acknowledging a gift, service, or compliment, or accepting or refusing an offer. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/thank-you

I've heard native speakers in similar contexts, where one of them answered "thank you" and it was understood for what it was: "yes, please". I would be confused, though.

  • 2
    Context is everything. From facial expression or a shake of the head it means "Thank you for asking but no, I don't want coffee." A nod and a smile means "Thank you for asking, yes please." – Mynamite Oct 21 '14 at 23:16
7

Without any more context, "thank you" as a response to "Would you like some coffee?" would mean an affirmative.

Generally, in such a scenario, the context would actually matter more than the phrase. For example, if I wanted to decline such an offer, I would wave the asker away while shaking my head. If I wanted to accept such an offer, I'd gesture to the cup and nod.

In order to clarify, I would probably respond with either "Oh, sure, thank you" or "No thank you" to a straight "thank you".

  • British English: A nod of the head accompanied by, "Thank you" means Yes. A shake of the head accompanied by "No thank you" mean No. – chasly from UK Sep 30 '15 at 23:12
0

it means YES but in other languages could be no. For example, if you ask this question to some one from Middle East and s/he says thank you, here means no. Social-cultural aspect play a vital role in understanding the context.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.