Posted by: Jack Henry | May 16, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Pleasantries

Last Monday we discussed greetings, and today I have some follow-up information about the meanings and origins of other common pleasantries. Click here to read the entire article. Enjoy your day!

How Do You Do?
This pleasantry, often responded to with an identical greeting but sometimes returned with something like, “I am well. And how are you?” is nearly obsolete but survives in the contraction “Howdy,” which is used without affectation in some regions of the United States, though some people use it as a self-conscious colloquialism.

Thank You
This pleasantry, short for “I thank you” but still considered formal, is often replaced by “Thanks,” which derives from a different comment, “I give you thanks.” The colloquial “Thanks a lot” is often uttered sarcastically, so it should be avoided in writing; the same is true of “Thanks a million.” An even more casual alternative is “Thanx.” (Thank, by the way, is cognate with think.)

The two parts of this greeting are misleading in their apparent etymological origins: The first half does not have anything to do with well, and the second half is only tangentially related to come. The first part of the Old English word wilcuma means “will” and the second part means “guest,” not “come”; the sentiment is that it was a host’s will that a guest would arrive.

You’re Welcome
This response to “Thank you” and its variants, a slight contraction of “You are welcome,” literally means that one should feel entitled to whatever cordiality or service one has received from the person who gives the response.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Technical Publications Writing and Editing Requests

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.


  1. […] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: