The terms “grateful to” and “grateful for” almost look the same, but is this the case? This page will explain the meanings of the two terms and show the difference between them in example sentences.
Grateful To or Grateful For – Which Is Correct?
The terms “grateful to” and “grateful for” are both correct but have different meanings. “Grateful to” is used when specifying the people “to whom” you wish to express gratitude. In contrast, the term “grateful for” is used to specify the “thing” or “situation” for which you are grateful.
The indication regarding their meaning comes from the preposition after the word “gratitude.” The preposition “for” can mean “because of”, so you are essentially saying, “I am grateful because of…” and you would insert the reason for your gratitude.
In contrast, the preposition “to” indicates “to whom” gratitude is being expressed rather than the reason for the appreciation.
Here are some examples of the two terms in context:
- I am grateful to my family for supporting me through this difficult time.
- I am grateful for your support at this difficult time.
- I am grateful to my teachers for providing me with such an excellent education.
- I am grateful for the excellent education system in my country.
- I am grateful to you for helping me
- I am grateful for your help.
The term “grateful to” indicates “to whom” is gratitude being directed. You can use the term to express gratitude to individuals, organisations, entities, or groups of people.
The term “grateful to” is not used to express the reason for your gratitude, in which case you would use “grateful for.”
Here are some examples of “grateful to” in a sentence:
- I am grateful to my university for being flexible regarding my situation.
- I am grateful to everyone who helped me in the shop during the summer.
- I am grateful to you for all your help.
The term “grateful for” expresses gratitude for the thing or situation for which you feel gratitude. It is not used to refer to people or entities but rather to the thing they provide.
Here are some examples of “grateful for” in a sentence:
- I am grateful for all the help you gave me last week.
- I am grateful for the time off work I took last week. It helped me recharge!
- I am grateful for your kind words.
The terms “grateful to” and “grateful for” are both correct but have separate meanings. The term “grateful to” indicates “to which person or entity” is gratitude being expressed. Whereas “grateful for” is used to indicate the “reason” for your gratitude. The terms are not interchangeable and should only be used in the described context.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.