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Hi:

Could you please kindly explain the meaning of "with thanks to" in both of the following sentences separately? Thanks!

1. With thanks to the National Science Foundation, we're Block and Byrd for Earth and Sky.

2. .“Long time no see”became a popular phrase in the real world with thanks to the popularity of these movies.

I know the "with thanks to" in the first sentence means "show appreciation to"; but what about the phrase in the second sentence? Besides, What's the function of the word "with" in the phrase of the second sentence. Can it be dropped? Thanks!

Xin
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You are right about the first sentence.

The second sentence is incorrect (in my usage, anyway). It should be "... became a popular phrase in the real world thanks to the popularity of ..." Here, "thanks to" means "as a result of", "as a consequence of".
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Please help! thanks!
 Mr Wordy's reply was promoted to an answer.