Over the last 5 years or so, a simple ‘thank you’ – surely one of the most powerful phrases in the English language – hasn’t appeared to be enough. I’ve often felt that it depends on how much you mean it, how you execute the comment, but that a ‘thank you’ or ‘thanks’ should be all it takes to express your gratitude.

Instead, over the last half-decade the phrase ‘thanks so much’ has crept into the verbal repertoire of folks, especially the younger ones. Is it a US influence? I don’t know, could be.

I remember being taken out for dinner by my folks for my 18th birthday, half a world ago. After every piece of cutlery, crockery and course was delivered, after every clean-up, I said ‘thanks very much’, feeling that I had to dsiolay my extreme gratitude at being waited on. Half way through the evening my Mum leaned over and whispered, ‘it’s OK to just say thanks or thank you, not thanks very much every time. Maybe save that one for the very end.’ Which I did.

I often hear grateful kids say ‘thanks so much for my birthday present.’ You know they mean it, unless the delivery is laced with sarcasm.

It doesn’t feel natural to me, so I don’t use it. I find it hard to make it sound sincere. Instead I try to show my appreciation for the little things by saying thank you like I mean it, which I almost always do.