There are plenty of iconic Elvis Presley phrases, but none greater, I think, than his classic, “Thank you. Thank you very much.” If you’re of a certain age, you can’t read that line without hearing Elvis’ swagger and cadence.
And thank you is such a lovely phrase (clause, really, if you consider the implied subject), you don’t even need Elvis’ swagger to carry it off beautifully. Nearly any type of heartfelt thank you is appreciated when appropriate.
Unless, of course, you opt to hyphenate it. Then it becomes a bane to the existence of grammarians everywhere. And of late, I have been seeing a lot of instances of hyphenated thank yous.
I also think I know a possible root of the rampant hyphenation of unsuspecting – and likely unwilling – thank yous: two-word adjectives. You see, when you use two words as a single adjective preceding the noun they modify, they require hyphenation: bat-eared dog, turned-up noses, thank-you notes.
Did you see that last example? Thank-you notes? I think people have seen an appropriately punctuated use of thank-you notes, and lost their minds: “Did you see that thank you was hyphenated? I didn’t realize it was hyphenated! Holy guacamole! I’ve been writing it without a hyphen for all these years! This is a situation which requires rectification!”
And then they never write thank you without the hyphen again.
Let me set the record straight: thank you almost never requires a hyphen. Only when it is used as an adjective to modify a method of gratitude delivery (thank-you notes, thank-you cards, thank-you balloons, thank-you elephant rides) does it require a hyphen.
So please, please, please, for the love of Elvis, stop hyphenating thank you.Thank you very much.