Thank you, Gracias, Merci, people say thank you in a thousand different languages every single day. It has become a part of our daily lives. In some places it is a part of the culture. But why do we say thank you? Why is it important to show our gratitude with such an expression?
The act of thanking someone actually has ancient roots. People have been doing it for most of mankind’s history, but historians believe the act of saying thank you (and please) really came about during the 16th and 17th centuries during the commercial revolution. Shops and businesses began to grow, and members of the middle class were the ones doing the shopping. They began to use the phrase during their transactions, and it grew from there.
But the phrase ‘thank you’ has a richer history than that. In different languages it is derived from different meanings. In English thank is derived from think, as in ‘I will think back on what you did for me.’ In French merci comes from mercy, meaning ‘I am begging you for mercy.’ All of these different meanings come from the basic premise that when someone does something for you, you owe them a debt and become a debtor. Once you thank them, they can release you from that debt with a typical phrase like ‘my pleasure’ or ‘you are welcome.
All of this history shows us one thing: Mankind has always known that showing gratitude towards someone is important. It helps to elevate us as humans and shows our intelligence. So remember to thank those in your life who have helped you with whatever you might have needed. History shows it’s important!