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  1. #1
    lonelymelody is offline Newbie
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    Default response to "thank you"

    I am visiting the USA for the first time and enjoying the beautiful city of New York. The city & people are great. However, I have been a bit confused by the response i get whenever i say "thank you" to someone. Most of the times whenever I say "thank you" the reply is "uhumm". Sometimes i get "OK" as a reply and barely "you're welcome". The usual circumstances are when I thank someone whom I asked for direction, the bus driver, sales person, cashier, or someone who took my picture.

    So my question is whether saying "uhumm" or "OK" are common responses to "thank you" in the USA especially NY, or is it because I am a foreigner and people are reluctant to say "you're welcome" or at least "no problem" to me.

    I would like to know how a native speaker would feel if he got the above responses, and if it is ok to use them. Thank you very much for your reply.
    Last edited by lonelymelody; 22-May-2011 at 16:17.

  2. #2
    sunsunmoon is offline Member
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  3. #3
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: response to "thank you"

    Quote Originally Posted by lonelymelody View Post
    I am visiting the USA for the first time and enjoying the beautiful city of New York. The city & people are great. However, I have been a bit confused by the response i get whenever i say "thank you" to someone. Most of the times whenever I say "thank you" the reply is "uhumm". Sometimes i get "OK" as a reply and barely "you're welcome". The usual circumstances are when I thank someone whom I asked for direction, the bus driver, sales person, cashier, or someone who took my picture.

    So my question is whether saying "uhumm" or "OK" are common responses to "thank you" in the USA especially NY, or is it because I am a foreigner and people are reluctant to say "you're welcome" or at least "no problem" to me.

    I would like to know how a native speaker would feel if he got the above responses, and if it is ok to use them. Thank you very much for your reply.

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Please be assured that your being a visitor has nothing to do

    with it.

    (2) I get such responses -- or non-responses -- all the time.

    (3) Yes, you may have a point: it may depend, to some

    extent, on the region of the country. I do NOT know, but I

    have a suspicion that if you visit a smaller town, you may

    find people who will actually say "You're welcome."

    (4) Let's face it: in the year 2011, old-fashioned courtesy

    is not at the top of the list on most people's agenda.

    (5) Another reason lies in bad management. The bosses

    do not (for various reasons, which we cannot discuss

    here) insist that their employees show the greatest

    respect to their customers (who, after all, are responsible

    for their having a job in the first place!!!).

    (6) I hope that you enjoy your visit. And thank you for

    visiting us and helping our ailing economy.


    Respectfully yours,


    James

  4. #4
    AlexAD's Avatar
    AlexAD is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: response to "thank you"

    I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker.

    A friend of mine who had been working in the USA for three summers told me that American English was very informal. They were using the sounds like you said all the time. But he didn't work in NYC, which is, as we all know, the city full of immigrants. Despite this it's a place where time is money. I think it's got something to do with their specific culture reference.

  5. #5
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: response to "thank you"

    New York City has a reputation for being a fast-paced, no-nonsense environment. Humorist Dave Barry once compared New York City to London thusly: "At the height of rush hour, people on the London underground actually say ``excuse me.'' Imagine what would happen if you tried an insane stunt like that on the New York City subway. The other passengers
    would take it as a sign of weakness, and there'd be a fight over who got to keep your ears as a trophy."


    So while in Atlanta or Chicago or San Francisco you would probably get a friendly "You're welcome" or "No problem!" in response to your "thank you," it's not unusual to simply get a gruff sort of growl as an acknowledgement in New York.

  6. #6
    lonelymelody is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: response to "thank you"

    Thank you all for your replies and clarification.
    And James, it is my pleasure! Actually, I am enjoying my time in NY immensely. And I hope that the economy recovers soon.
    Last edited by lonelymelody; 23-May-2011 at 00:19.

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