DEAR MISS MANNERS: For years I have wondered why, when someone feels the need to thank someone else, most begin with the phrase, "I would like to thank so-and-so for doing so-and-so."
My complaint is that if one wishes to thank someone, one proper way is to say, "My thanks to so-and-so for so-and-so." Or, "My heartfelt thank you to so-and-so."
Why say, "I want to thank"? Why not go ahead and do it?
GENTLE READER: Is it because there is no verb in the declaration you recommend?
Miss Manners does not usually fret about the literal meanings of common, inoffensive expressions that everyone understands. This year alone, it has saved her enough time to reread "Moby-Dick."
But somehow your question got to her. She has used the expression herself, and your point has not frightened her into abandoning it. Upon reflection, she thinks that the part about wanting to thank emphasizes that it is not being said in a perfunctory way, but out of a genuine desire to express gratitude.