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I constantly hear the expression "Thank you very much indeed" in the BBC, both TV and radio. However, I never listen to it on day-to-day conversation, either formal or informal. Moreover, when I say it myself, I am sometimes being told that using "indeed" after "thank you very much" is a sign of "snobbery".

Please advice.

  • At least in US English, "indeed" does seem to me as "putting on airs," or at least that seemed to be the case decades ago. But use of "indeed" seems to be increasing in US English recently. – curious-proofreader Aug 24 '16 at 7:32
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It is an example of adding emphasis, and being "extra polite", as Josh61 says in his answer, but I think there's some extra subtleties which are worth pointing out.

When we interview someone in front of an audience, and reach the end, we (the interviewer) need to emphatically signal to our interviewee and the audience that the interview has ended: this is the interviewee's cue to relax and the audience's cue to applaud or whatever. Simply saying "Thank you" is not a strong enough cue for this purpose: it needs to be something that catches everyone's attention, and something that you would not normally say during the interview.

Combined with a particular rise-and-fall speaking pitch, ("med med hi-hi-hi low low") "Thank you very much indeed." works very effectively: the "indeed" acts like a very clear sign saying "The End".

In this sense, the phrase "Thank you very much indeed" is actually operating on several levels at once: it's an English sentence but it's also an aural cue operating on a level beyond language - almost like music. Even someone who didn't speak english could learn to recognise it as a "This is the end" cue, and it will tend to alert even the people in the audience who aren't paying good attention.

Even if there's no live audience, an interviewer may still adopt this technique, partly out of habit but also to tell the viewer at home and the interviewee that they've reached the end.

  • OP's main concern appears to be about its supposed snobbery connotation. – user66974 Aug 24 '16 at 8:08
  • @Josh61 indeed. I was talking about a valid reason to use it (based on their BBC reference), which may be irrelevant to the OP, so my answer might fail in that regard. I still think it's an interesting phenomenon though (if that's the right word). – Max Williams Aug 24 '16 at 8:10
  • Yes, it is, but does its usage sound "snob" to you? – user66974 Aug 24 '16 at 8:12
  • I would reserve usage of it myself to situations where i was extraordinarily grateful, and I didn't know the person very well: eg someone who I'd paid to do a job and who had gone "above and beyond" what was expected for the money. So I'd say that "thank you very much indeed" should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances. I don't know about snobbery: snobbery isn't even the right word for what the OP is talking about - snobbery is judging others, whereas it seems like "being pretentious" would be a better fit for what they're being accused of. – Max Williams Aug 24 '16 at 8:15
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It is used just to add emphasis, to show appreciation in the case you are citing. It is less common and sounds less colloquial than "very much" but I'd not see it as a sign of snobbery:

Indeed:

  • Use the word indeed to add emphasis to a statement. Think if it as another way to say: "That's right," or "Oh, yeah." Are you seriously going to eat that entire chocolate cake? Indeed, I am.
  • Indeed originates from the phrase in dede meaning "in fact, in truth." When you use the word indeed, you are underscoring that something is true. The word is also used when you want to introduce a point that's even truer than the last one you made. "Yes, I passed the test, and indeed, got the highest score in the class." In other words, it's a polite way to say:"Take that!"

(Vocabulary.com)

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