What Do Americans Mean By TGIF?

On Fridays you may hear co-workers or classmates say “TGIF!” This is a common acknowledgment that the end of the work week or school week is here, and the weekend is ready to begin. As you are learning, Americans are very fond of acronyms and abbreviations.  In this case, TGIF stands for “Thank God It's Friday.”

 TGIF

If you want to start using this expression at your school or workplace, there are three things you should know about saying it correctly.

First, it’s pronounced /tidʒiyai'ɛf/, with stress on the final letter.

Next, there is no –s at the end of “Thank” because it is a verb, not a noun.  You are probably familiar with the noun form “Many thanks!”  The meaning of TGIF is sort of like “I thank God” or “We thank God (that it’s the weekend).”

Also, the word “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.”  Many of my Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking friends try to say “is” because in their language, the word “it” is optional.  In English, “it” is grammatically required.

 Getting over the hump: Quitting time on Wednesday is 3/5 of the way to the weekend!

Getting over the hump: Quitting time on Wednesday is 3/5 of the way to the weekend!

Finally, let me make a cultural observation.  Some people are not accustomed to using religious language.  If so, you can substitute “Goodness” for “God” in similar expressions.  For example:   • Thank goodness my paycheck came today!  I’m traveling tomorrow and my bank account was at zero.   • I left my apartment key in my room.  Thank goodness my roommate was there when I got back home. By the way, did you know that some Americans call Wednesday “hump day”?  A hump is a small hill.  If you see the week as an obstacle to arriving at the weekend, then you are happy when Wednesday is done and you are more than halfway through the week.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

 One restaurant chain knows people like to celebrate after work.

One restaurant chain knows people like to celebrate after work.

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.