Posts Tagged ‘you’re welcome’

Monday Medley

What we read while not drinking beers with President Obama:

  • You may have noticed we used the word “meme” a second ago. And here’s a little secret: When we started the blog, we weren’t sure whether to call our running features “memes” or “tropes.” Turns out, we weren’t alone. (P.S. We settled on “treme.”)
  • We’re obviously pleased with the conclusion here and exhilarated by the kudos to the Beatles and Chuck Klosterman. But we’re not so sure about the gratuitous shot at Saved by the Bell. Because we like Saved by the Bell. And the only thing we hate more than the people who don’t like Saved by the Bell are the people who don’t like us because we like Saved by the Bell.
  • This article is from last week, but we couldn’t overlook one of the most devastatingly self-aware quotes we’ve ever seen: “I don’t have any nostalgia for reality.” We at NPI can’t disagree more: We’re suckers for nostalgia in all its forms.

On “You’re Welcome”

I find social norms interesting especially when it isn’t entirely clear why they exist. One I was pondering in a state of half-sleep last night was the norm of saying, “You’re welcome” after “Thank you.”

Why do we say it? The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) cites the first documented usage in W.W. Jacob’s 1907 Short Cruises. And, OED defines it as “a polite formula used in response to an expression of thanks.” While “you’re welcome” is sometimes used as a “polite formula,” those who use “you’re welcome” often have a more precise intended meaning. When someone responds, “you’re welcome,” they are acknowledging that thanks is owed. Let’s call this type of response to “thank you” a category one reply.

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