Here we point out the difference in usage of - teşekkür ederim - thank you and the more sincere - sağ olun - stay healthy.
(1) sağ olun - be healthy, be strong - is used as - thank you - for a service which:
- Was not necessarily needed to be performed.
- for someone who has gone out of his way to help you.
(2) While - teşekkür ederim - thank you - [Lit: a thanking perform I - from Arabic] is used:
- In normal circumstances and receiving presents.
The waiter puts a nice meal in front of you. Your - thank you - is - teşekkür ederim - it is his job.
The waiter puts a bottle of wine in front of you. Your - thank you - is - teşekkür ederim - it is his job.
Then the waiter uncorks the bottle of wine and pours it in your glass. Your - thank you - is - sağ olun - he need not have performed this service.
The recipient of your gratitude will often answer your - sağ olun - with the rejoinder - siz de sağ olun - health to you also - [the Polite Version said to to stranger].
Other forms are - sen de sağ ol - or quite short - siz de - or - sen de - you too
You ask someone the time. He looks at his watch and says - "Half past three".
Your answer is - sağ olun - [You have caused him to perform a service to you.]
You drop your handkerchief a stranger picks it up and hand it to you.
Your answer is- sağ olun - [He need not have done it.]
Here is a comment one of our readers has made about Manisa Turkish. He has used - sağ olun - correctly, thanking us for providing something unasked.
Very nice website
Very descriptive and helpful, Manisa Turkish has helped me in communicating with my Turkish friends. I just wanted to give you a very big - sağ olun - for producing such a useful website! - Dan R. - March 2008
See all accolades for the Manisa Turkish website Our accolades
Many tourists use - sağ olun - wrongly instead of using - teşekkür ederim - as they copy the boy waiter's way of thanking - as the waiters often use - sağ olun - for misguided effect. The rule is, if in doubt then use - teşekkür ederim.
The answer to - teşekkür ederim - is - bir şey değil - It is nothing - or - rica ederim - I request! - [same as "bitte schön" in German]
Also used is - ne demek? - what does it mean?. This expression - ne demek? - sounds quite comical in English. But it actually means something like: It doesn't matter at all. The answer - Rica ederim - is the politest one. The recipient of your gratitude will often answer your - sen sağol - with the rejoinder - sen de sağol - health to you too.
Other Versions are:
sağ ol - familiar
sağ olun - polite and/or singular
sağ olunuz - public and/or plural
A simple - teşekkürler - also means a very informal - thanks - and is used in shops and for small duties performed.
Many people when first learning Turkish are tempted to use the Present Continuous Tense form - teşekkür ediyorum - we would advise you that this form sounds quite comical to the Turkish ear and can also be construed as being sarcastic, so one should always use the Present Simple form - teşekkür ederim - and you will not go wrong or be misunderstood.