In the last two years or so I began to see people frequently using 感恩 as verb meaning "thank (you)", such as "感恩大家" or "感恩领导".

But I thought "感恩" is a verb-noun phrase, meaning "thank (you for your) kindness", while "感谢" is the phrase for "thank (you)".

Is the use of "感恩" instead of "感谢" a newly emerged usage, or have the two always been interchangeable?

  • Because these people are either movie star or working for the nation, they are too busy , don't have enough time to learn.
    – sfy
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 15:40
  • This is how we say thank you in Vietnamese (cám ơn) or cảm ân when pronounced in Sino-Vietnamese.
    – oceanus
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


You are right that 感恩 is a verb-noun phrase. When another noun is appended (i.e. 感恩XX), it means that you are thanking () someone (XX) for their kindness (). Inversion is at play here.

"感恩" carries a degree of formality and is rarely used in daily conversation. It will be awkward if someone uses "感恩" when not speaking publicly.

To rate them in terms of formalities: 感恩 > 感谢 > 谢谢 > 多谢

感恩 is used exclusively in formal context while 多谢 is only used casually. 感谢 and 谢谢 can be used at the user's discretion, though the former sounds more formal.

  • Is such usage more common in Taiwan than in mainland China? For example, I had the impression that a Taiwanese would say something like "我帮忙他完成了一件事" whereas someone from the Mainland would say "我帮他完成了一件事". Here "帮忙" is a similar verb-noun phrase (to me) but used as a verb.
    – Herr K.
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 22:41
  • @HerrK.I edited my answer to address your first question regarding 感恩. I am not familiar with its usage in Taiwan. In mainland China, 帮忙 is either used by itself (as an intransitive verb: 他来帮忙) or with the task you're to help with (他来帮忙搬家 - "搬家" is the task here).
    – Cosmos Gu
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 22:49
  • I think "感恩XX" sounds like the style of Chinese in Taiwan.
    – velut luna
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 14:04
  • I heart it from HK and TW people who are religious. I interpret as a short and sweet way to say "I feel grateful".
    – judester
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 18:04
  • @Mathaholic Do you think people in Taiwan will use 感恩 in less formal settings? If that is the case I will edit my answer to reflect that.
    – Cosmos Gu
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 19:49

Often we say "感谢" in the oral conversation, but "感恩" is also used in oral, the meaning is more deep. I will give a example:


  • But in your example "感恩" is not a verb; it's a verb-noun phrase.
    – Herr K.
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 3:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.