Appreciation Of or For? When to Use Each (With Examples)

The terms “appreciation of” and “appreciation for” can be confusing because they look almost identical. This page examines the similarities and differences more closely and provides examples of when and how to use “appreciation of” and “appreciation for.”

Is It Appreciation Of or For?

The terms are often used interchangeably with little or no difference in meaning. However, in general terms, “appreciation of” something is the “recognition of its good qualities or benefits.” While “appreciation for” something is “your gratitude or thanks” for something.

appreciation of or for

Sometimes the difference between the two terms is vague, and there are times when both could technically be correct because both broadly fit with the definition. However, in examples like the one below, the difference between the terms is slim, and most people wouldn’t recognize or acknowledge that there was even a difference.

For example:

  • He shows an appreciation for the arts. (He is “grateful” they exist)
  • He has an appreciation of the arts. (He recognizes the “qualities” and “benefits” they bring)

Then, there are other occasions when the difference between “appreciation of” and “appreciation for” is more significant, and they are not interchangeable.

“Appreciation of” expresses the gratitude for more specific benefits and qualities.

“Appreciation for” expresses more general gratitude and thankfulness rather than a specific benefit.

Here are some examples to show the difference

  • I am appreciative of the extra classes my science teacher gave me in my final semester.
  • I have an appreciation for the excellent school system in the city where I grew up.
  • The boss showed a deep appreciation of Mark’s work and said it was the best he had ever seen.
  • The boss shows a deep appreciation for all his staff.

Appreciation Of

The Collins Dictionary states that “appreciation of” something is the “recognition and enjoyment of its good qualities.” On some occasions, it is used interchangeably with “appreciation for”, although there is a slight difference between the terms in some cases.

The difference is that to show “appreciation of” something is to recognize the specific or individual qualities it brings or to show “appreciation of” a particular action.

For example

  • I am in “appreciation of” how well you speak French. It helped us on the trip.

It sounds unnatural as

  • I am in “appreciation for” how well you speak French. It helped us on the trip.

Here are some more examples to show how to use “appreciation of” in a sentence:

  1. I am in appreciation of what you have produced. I could never work that fast.
  2. We were all in appreciation of the donations made to the food bank.
  3. She was in appreciation of how he helped her when she lost her job.
  4. I am in appreciation of how well you drive. The ride was very smooth.

Appreciation For

The Collins Dictionary states that “appreciation for” something is the “gratitude” you express towards something as a whole, rather than a specific action or trait.

Sometimes there is not much difference in meaning between “appreciation for” and “appreciation of”; they could be used interchangeably, and the reader or listener may not notice the difference. However, on other occasions, especially when being very specific, “appreciation for” can sound unnatural.

An example where the meaning is not drastically different

  • Mark showed an appreciation of classic cars. (Appreciation of the qualities they provide)
  • Mark showed an appreciation for classic cars. (Appreciation that they exist)

Here are some examples where the meaning is different:

  1. She showed no appreciation for anything we had done for her.
  2. I have a deep appreciation for my parents.
  3. The discounts are to show appreciation for our clients.
  4. I want to express our appreciation for the whole two weeks. We had a great time!

Which Is Used the Most?

The Google Ngram Viewer shows an interesting trend, where “appreciation of” was far more common than “appreciation for” at the start of the 1900s. However, its use started to drop dramatically around the 1960s, and now there is not much difference in frequency between the “appreciation of” and “appreciation for.”

appreciation of or for usage

In British English, the difference between the terms is more significant and “appreciation of” is used more commonly.

appreciation of or for UK

In American English, there is less disparity between the terms, and their frequency is almost equal.

appreciation of or for US

 Furthermore, on the British graph, there is also a peak in usage between 1938/39 and 1945, which declines after 1945. This trend coincides with the dates of the Second World War, which could be a coincidence, or it could be that lots of “appreciation of” people’s efforts were shown during that period.

Final Thoughts

The terms “appreciation for” and “appreciation of” are both correct but have slightly different meanings. “Appreciation of” something is more specific and shows thanks for a particular benefit, whilst “appreciation for” is used more for giving general gratitude or “appreciation” for something.