I am writing an official statement for plaques, in appreciation of an employee's contribution to the company. I am not sure which one to use:

We would like to thank you for your unstinting support...


We thank you for your unstinting support...

Could you please help me out?

  • 3
    Hearing "We would like to thank you" would cause me to think, "well, why don't you, then?". – Brian Hooper May 5 '11 at 11:38

"Would like to" is often a buffer, implying either tentativeness or extreme politeness.

In speech "I would like to thank" is much more common than "I thank", because these formulas are pretty well confined to formal settings, where extreme politeness is preferred.

In a commemorative plaque, either is possible, but I would go for the shorter form.

Incidentally, it is not common to capitalise "you".


How about just "Thank you for your unstinting support..."?

"We would like to thank you" is a common way of phrasing it, but perhaps a bit conversational for an official plaque.

"We thank you" is less common, but still acceptible. To me, it the "We" stands out due to this phrasing's relative rarity in comparison with the simpler "Thank you", putting the emphasis on the fact that it is a collective act of thanks. This possibly explains the popularity of this phrasing in prayers.

  • Great initial tip, a rephrase. – Jonnybojangles Jan 8 '12 at 18:07
  • Isn't it a no-no to omit the subject in an official text? I was told so once, albeit by a native Russian teacher of English. (just making sure) – CowperKettle Sep 19 '15 at 2:14
  • Normally, omitting the subject is extremely informal, but "Thank you" is a special case, because that is the standard expression. – Colin Fine Sep 20 '15 at 0:24

I would think that the speech presenting the plaques would involve the line;

We would like to thank you for your service by presenting you with these plaques.

The plaques themselves would simply say

In recognition of so and so you have our thanks.


When I read/hear "we would like to ..." I think: please go right ahead! I'm waiting!

"We would like to ..." seems to be yet another phrase we use to avoid getting to the point.

Please just say, "Thank you for ..."

That's the best way.


Rather than "We," why not use the name of the company or the institution?


I was taught, many years ago, that "I would like to..." means you want to in the future. If you are writing or speaking and thanking someone (on a plaque or otherwise) in the present, "I thank you for your support...".

Therefore, "we thank you" is appropriate for the plaque. Although I agree with the comment "In recognition of your...".

I cringe when someone stands on a stage and says, "I would like to ..." because they're doing right now. I never heard the "extreme politeness" explanation, but "tentative," yes, because you want to but aren't going to thank the person right now.

protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 18:34

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