Thanks For The Heads Up – Definition, Usage, and More!

We’ve all been given a great tip that helps us prepare for future events. Maybe your mom tipped you off that it was going to rain tonight. Or maybe a friend warned of a pop quiz in the upcoming class. In response, you might say “thanks for the heads up!” However, is this phrase proper grammar? In this article, we’ll the meaning, usage, and origin of the phrase “thanks for the heads up”.

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“Thanks For The Heads Up” Meaning

man thinking about the meaning of "thanks for the heads up"

The next time someone says “thanks for the heads up,” you can be confident that they are giving thanks for providing an advanced warning of an event.

Maybe you received a tip on:

  • Upcoming weather
  • Notice for a family member’s birthday
  • Fantasy football roster selection

The next time you find yourself in a sticky situation & a friend gives you a tip so that you can be prepared, be sure to say “thanks for the heads up!”

Takeaway: This phrase is commonly used when someone has been caught off guard by a situation, but it can also be used to express gratitude for any helpful advice or warning.


Here are some examples of when you might use the phrase “thanks for the heads up” to warn of an upcoming event in spoken conversations.

  • When my best friend got engaged and didn’t tell me beforehand, I might say “Thanks for the heads up man!” In this sentence, I am using the phrase to be sarcastic and express humor.
  • When my dog escaped from the backyard and was running around the neighborhood my neighbor called me and said “I just saw your dog running down the street”. I might respond, “Thanks for the heads up. I am going to go look for him now.” In this sentence, I am using the phrase to express my thanks for a helpful tip about my dog.
  • When there was a surprise test in class & my best friend warned me in advance I might respond, “Thanks for the heads up. I would have failed that test without you.” In this sentence, I am expressing thanks to my friend for giving me advance notice of a future event.

Just like we saw when analyzing the phrase thank you comma name, small spelling and punctuation changes can completely change a sentence.

12 Synonymous Phrases

Here are 12 different ways you can use the phrase “thanks for the heads up”. Some of these are formal synonyms & some should only be used in casual conversation. I always recommend you use our editing & proofreading checklist in your writing no matter which phrase you choose!

  1. Two colleagues might say, “thanks for the warning! I appreciate the heads up about the CEO’s surprise visit.”
  2. “Oh no, thank you for letting me know! I would have been really upset if I hadn’t been prepared.”
  3. “Phew, thanks for giving me a heads up on that!”
  4. “That was close! Thanks for looking out for me”
  5. “Thanks for the information, I’ll be sure to take it into account.”
  6. “Thank you so much for telling me, I had no idea!”
  7. “I’m so glad you said something, thank you.”
  8. “Thank you very much for bringing that to my attention.”
  9. “Of course, thank you very much for letting me know.”
  10. “No problem, I’m just glad I could help out!”
  11. “Thanks for the tip!”
  12. “You’re a lifesaver!”

Just like we saw in our analysis of the phrase “I would love to“, synonyms are a great way to match meaning to appropriate context.

Pick The Best

“Thanks for the heads up” is likely the best of these options in most situations. It is a polite way to express your gratitude for a warning about an upcoming event or situation. However, it is considered an informal phrase, so it might not be appropriate for business settings.

Whichever phrase you choose…be sure to proofread for proper spelling. We saw in our recent post comparing the words Useing vs Using just how frequently writers mess up on the basics!

Wrong Ways To Say “Just A Heads Up”

Person A might say “Just a heads up Khols is having a huge sale next week”. Person B might respond, “thanks for the heads up, I know where I will be doing my back-to-school shopping.”

Seems simple right? And yet, there are so many ways to say it wrong.

  • You might tell your boss “Just a heads up, I’m going to be out of the office next week.” But what you’re really saying is “I’m giving you advance notice that I’m about to do something that will screw up your plans.”
  • You might say, “Just a heads up, I’m about to ask you for a favor.” Translation: “I hope you’re in a good mood, because I’m about to take advantage of you.”
  • And then there’s the classic “just a heads up, I’m going to be late.” In other words, “I know I said I’d be there at 9 am, but now it’s 9:15 and I’m still not even close.”

Everyone learns the phrase “thanks for the heads up” when learning English. But, just like we learned in a similar post about the expression “thank you for your continued support“, you should not use this phrase in every situation!


It is always hard to lock down the exact origin of a word or phrase in the English Language. However, the phrase “heads up” is thought to be from the military or baseball.

  • Military – When firing weapons in close proximity to fellow soldiers or when enemy artillery is inbound, soldiers might yell “heads up!” This is a warning to duck for cover.
  • Baseball – When a player hits a foul ball into the crowd, the surrounding fans might yell “heads up”! Meaning, cover your head so you don’t get hit by the baseball.


The next time someone sends you a message with the phrase “Just a heads up,” take it as a tip-off that they’re about to give you some news – and not necessarily good news.

After all, we have already covered how this phrase can be used for both good & bad news. But if you hear “heads up” know that is a warning for an event that is about to happen.

Popularity Analysis

Google’s own Ngram data shows that the phrase “heads up” is used very frequently in published writing. Since the 1980s, this expression has started to appear in far more often. In most cases this phrase is used in an informal context to give someone advice or a tip.

What Is The Opposite Of Giving A “Heads Up”?

The opposite of giving a “heads up” is to keep something a secret. This means that you would not give someone notice about something in advance. Giving a “heads up” means providing advance notice or warning about a situation, so the opposite would be not giving any warning or information beforehand.

Common FAQs

Q: How do you say heads up professionally?

In a professional setting, you could say “I just wanted to let you know…” The phrase “heads up” is considered a casual phrase. It is typically understood to mean that someone should be briefed or prepared for something. In a professional setting, it is important to choose your words carefully so that you are conveying the correct meaning to your colleagues.

Q: What does Heads Up mean in slang?

In slang, this phrase can be used as a warning of imminent danger, trouble, or strife. For example, “I’m about to go in on him – so you better give me a heads up if he’s got friends nearby.” It can also be used informally as a way of telling someone that they need to pay attention or to watch out for something.

Q: Is it correct to say just a heads up?

Yes, it is correct to say just a heads up as a way of warning somebody about something. This phrase is commonly used to let someone know that they should be aware of something that might affect them. For example, if you were going to have a bunch of people over for a party at your house, you might send out a mass text to your neighbors saying “Just a heads up, there will be a lot of noise and activity at my place this weekend.” By giving people advance notice, you’re giving them the opportunity to prepare themselves.

Q: What’s another way to say just a heads up?

“Just a heads up” is a very common phrase used in casual conversation. Another way to say this phrase is “look out”, “beware”, and “just so you know”.

Q: What can I say instead of a heads up?

There are a few different things you could say instead of “heads up.” First, you could say something like “be alert” or “be careful.” This would let the person know that they need to be cautious and pay attention to their surroundings. Additionally, you might say “beware” or “forewarning.” Both of these phrases carry a similar meaning to “heads up,” which is that the person should be aware that there may be danger ahead.

The Bottom Line

Now you know everything there is to know about the common phrase “thanks for the heads up”. You know where the phrase originated & how to use it correctly in conversations. Just be sure to know your audience! It is not always appropriate to use an informal phrase in business or professional settings. If you can’t seem to get this phrase right, check out our FREE grammar checker!