When did “No, thank you” become “No thanks” in our world? Somewhere along the way, we’ve stopped including the comma that makes this sentence a polite regret. Somewhere along the way, we’ve turned it into a denial of gratitude.
Did you even notice? Can you see the difference between the meaning of these two sentences?
Having no thanks is a lot different from “no, thanks.” It’s like the difference between “I am completely without gratitude” and “Oh, I’m sorry, but no, thank you anyway.” That little comma lets us keep a little “yes” in our “no.” It implies a longing for yes, and a regret that the answer – for now, at least – must be no. That little comma keeps the gratitude, instead of denying it.
So I urge you, this week, to pause for the gratitude. When you turn down that second helping of potatoes or pie, stop for just a second between the “No” and the “Thanks” and let the comma be heard as an affirmation that you really are grateful. See what it does to you, and get back to me on that, will you?