Monday, April 16, 2012

Thank you ... You're Welcome

I'm almost afraid to say "Thank you" to anyone anymore, because I know I am going to be greeted with the execrable "No problem" or the even worse "No problemo...".  I know the English language changes and evolves, and that is the beauty of it.  We can barely read and understand the Elizabethan English of Shakespeare's time, but when it is spoken, it comes alive; however, the English of today has evolved considerably since then.  Some evolution of the English language and even English grammar is acceptable.  The rules of grammar are easily bent and even broken, and perfectly wonderful writers break the rules all the time.

But "No problemo...?"

Last night I was watching the last part of Julian Fellowes' "Titanic".  It was wonderful.  It was bascially "Downton Abbey" at sea, with many of the same actors, and all the Edwardian finery and grandeur.  In one scene, a young woman in first class accommodation was looking after another woman's three-year old daughter while the mother went topside to see what was going on.  When the mother returned to the cabin to retrieve her daughter, she thanked the woman.

"No problem..."

Hey, wait a minute.  This is 1912, the height of the Edwardian era, the gilded age of manners and decorum.

"No problem...?"

I laughed.  "No problem" has become part of the modern lexicon, and we're stuck with it.  And it's really okay in informal situations.  But it's lovely to hear the exchange, "Thank you," and the reply "You're welcome".  The English language has so many subtleties, and "No problem" actually does sound as if it is a problem.  The person was accommodating, but -- sigh -- it really was a problem.  In my opinion, "You're welcome" sounds gracious and affable.  There is a subtle difference.  I could be wrong; I usually am...  but I rather like  "You're welcome".  It's cheerful.

Thank you for allowing me to vent.


Leslie: said...

I agree, but find myself doing it! I taped all the episodes as I want to watch it all in one go...don't give away the ending, please! lol

SparkleFarkel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SparkleFarkel said...

"No problem" doesn't cut it for me either. And caboosing it with an "o" makes me cringe!

Pamela Kieffer said...

Just to have someone acknowledge your thank you suits.

Alicia said...

You are welcome!

joanne said...

Oh Please, give me well-mannered any day and my life will be merry. Thank you.

Cloudia said...

Good catch at 'the Abbey."
Ah, language is always evolving. . . I hear you though

Warm Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>


Russell said...

Hey man, that's radical, you know?! Give me five! Wait ... I think THAT is outdated now. Heh!

In any event, I agree that basic manners seems to have .... left the building. I read many college papers every week and young people can no longer write a basic sentence.

Common courtesy seems to be hard to find, too. When was the last time a retail clerk actually counted back your change (assuming she was not upset you actually used ... cash!) and then looked you in the eyes and said "thank you"?

But, hey, just be cool. Everything's groovy.

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@ly said...

I will be sure to say You're Welcome today. :-)

the walking man said...

When someone thanks me it is normal for me to say you're welcome but to my ear it sounds as if I am saying yer welcome...and I do at times practice speech elocution. Grrr

Jay said...

You are most welcome. It was my pleasure to read your post today.

My personal annoyance with other peoples manners is not language but action. I am astounded by those folks who mutter "excuse me" or "pardon" and then proceed to bowl you over without giving you the opportunity to get out of their way. Like "no problem' their action seems to indicate they once were taught the civilities but they have forgotten the subtlties of manners.

PhilipH said...

Or Not a Problem.
In Scotland it's more likely to be "Nae bother".
But what abot the over-use of "ABSOLUTELY!" when agreeing with a statement? Annoying, very.
And Jo, as far as the Titanic being Downton Abbey afloat I agree, but I found it unexciting and somewhat boring. Viewing stats showed a drop from 6 million to under 3 million. Maybe we'll have Titanic the Musical next?
Absolutely not!

sixtyfivealive said...


sixtyfivealive said...

Hi - sure having trouble getting my comment to post on your blog these past few weeks when I've tried, so I'll try one more time.

I've always said 'thank you' - that no problem (or problemo) has come from people I know that are about 20 years younger than I am, so I chuckled when you said you heard it in a 1912 movie - probably suited maybe for the effort of looking for the little baby, and that's how the script-writer chose to express it. Nevertheless, I think for common usage, 'thank you' is much more pleasing.

I watched another Titanic movie made in 1943 - it was much more inviting to me because they showed more of the facts; they all exhibited a certain calm and strength, and it seemed more like how people would act to aid each other (as well as those who scrambled against each other so they could have a chance to live).

Granted, I missed that lovely music of the current Titanic, but I'd still watch the other one more than once if I had my choice.

Sextant said...

Jo you said:

"Thank you for allowing me to vent."

No problem!

My improvement to the language would be to limit the use of the word "like" to once a day for anyone under the age of 40.

Like your post, like so typical of like your posts, like it was so so awesome. Like it was the, like best thing since, like, canned beer.

Paula Slade said...

Wonderful post, and I totally agree! For me, there is a problem with "no problem." "You're welcome" is the gracious and validating way to go - IMHO.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I feel the same way about this. "You're welcome" says what it's intended to say w/o being guessed at or misinterpreted.

heiresschild said...

hi Josie, i agree with you--manners never go out of style. i hope all is well with you.

JeannetteLS said...

I heard someone clearly under fifty respond with "My pleasure" and I nearly fell over. PhilH hit the two things I've noticed, "not a problem" and "absolutely."

I was with family at an Italian restaurant and we got the giggles because our waiter responded with "absolutely" to everything. "I'll have chicken marsala." "Absolutely". "May I have some more ice water?" "Absolutely." "I believe I ordered the chicken and he had the fish." "Absolutely."

"Thanks." "Absolutely."

Then he asked me if my food was okay and it blurted, "Absolutely," and the family burst out laughing and the poor guy was confused.

I have trouble with how quickly the vernacular is changing. I HATE saying something funny and having someone SAY to me "LOL."

Okay. I am a geezer, so I'm going to stop.

Carol E. said...

What I hate is when one says "thank you" and the response is "thank YOU." It's like a contest of who is being more polite. I always make an effort to say "you're welcome" to keep it in the language. Do you think we have a fighting chance?