Grateful to or for: Here’s the correct version (with 10 examples)

Gratitude is a crucial part of life. And we’ll get onto why this is later on in the article. However, the grammar surrounding gratitude can cause a bit of confusion. The most common question people have is “Am I grateful to or grateful for?”.

In this article, we’ll look at the correct version and provide you with a few examples to help you fully understand. We’ll also take a look at some synonyms and try to understand why gratitude is so important.

Grateful to or for?

Both are correct.

You are “grateful for” a thing. Whereas you are “grateful to” people or a person.

If my mum gives me a nice hat, I would be grateful for the hat, but grateful to my mum.

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Grateful for

One question some hippies might ask you is, “What are you grateful for?”. When you’re grateful for something, you’re grateful for something which is either of use or pleasure to you.

Please note, you don’t have to be grateful for something physical. You can also be grateful for improper nouns such as love, support, or friendships.

If you receive a gift, you should be grateful for that gift. But you can also be grateful for the joy that other people bring into your life.

Grateful to have been

One pretty standard alternative to “grateful for” is “grateful to have been…”.

Instead of saying “I am grateful for my new hat”, I could say, “I am grateful to have been given my new hat”.

Or, instead of “I am grateful for your love”, I might say, “I am grateful to have been provided with your love”.

However, you’re far more likely to hear “grateful for” than “grateful to have been”. The latter is often too wordy, and we like to communicate our ideas as efficiently as possible.

5 examples of sentences that use “grateful for”

“Perhaps we can come to value all human relationships, even be grateful for them over time:”

“It’s a time to be grateful for what we have, and for second chances. Walt hasn’t been with anyone, guy or girl, since you left.”

“I am so grateful for the one friend and I rejoiced. Within a few landed on his face.”

” I am grateful to God pioneers everywhere who are serving for this and for membership in The God day and night.”

“In this way, finally, we can see why you might be grateful for death. Your awareness of your death, and the awareness of the emptiness of socially defined projects or goals mean that many of the traditional sources of unhappiness no longer.”

Grateful to

When you’re grateful to, you’re not grateful to a thing, but rather grateful to a person.

This can be because this person has done something for you. For example, if someone helps you, you can be grateful to them. But you can also be grateful to people in general. For instance, if they’re always there to support you.

You can also be grateful to a group of people, for example, your company or your local government.

5 examples of sentences that use “grateful to”

“I am especially grateful to Motorola and Oluwadamilola for being my very dear friends, and for their understanding through thick and thin.”

“I am very grateful to the many people who have given me the best of their time and effort that I may complete this work.”

“I am indeed grateful to them all for their help in giving concrete shape to this study.”

“I am grateful to Christer von der Burg and Thérèse O’Connor for locating books and making helpful suggestions.”

“We are indeed most grateful to all the African film-makers who honoured us with their presence and / or their films.”

Grateful to and Grateful for are interchangeable… kind of

Now, this is where things might start to get a little bit confusing. In a way, “grateful to” and “grateful for” are interchangeable. Although if you do this, the meaning will change slightly. Let’s look at an example to help you.

If I say, “I am grateful to my family”, this means that I am grateful for something my family has done/given to me.

However, I could also say, “I am grateful for my family”, which would mean I am grateful for the fact that I have my family. Perhaps because I nearly lost them or seen other families who are not as good as mine.

Alternatives to grateful for or to

In English, it’s rare for a phrase not to have alternatives. Here are some of the options you could pick instead of just saying “grateful to” or “grateful for”.

  • I am thankful for/to
  • I am filled with gratitude for/to
  • I am appreciative for/to
  • I am indebted to
  • I a pleased with
  • I am satisfied with
  • I highly welcome….
  • I am indebted to
  • I am delighted with
  • I would like to thank….

Some of these (such as indebted) are more formal, whereas others, such as “I would like to thank”, are more casual.

Why gratitude matters

All of this leads to the big question of “why does gratitude matter?” What use is it to be thankful for what we have? Or to the people around us?

Gratitude is one of the keys to a happy life. If you spend all day wishing you had more and being envious of other people, you will never achieve happiness.

However, if you look at what (and who) you have in your life and manage to appreciate it all, you are far more likely to be happy. Lower levels of gratitude are, according to some people, a key factor behind the high rates of depression.


And there we have it. Now you know the difference between being grateful for something and being grateful to someone.

I know it might seem like a slightly minor distinction. Still, when you’re able to get it correct, you will open yourself up to more conversation.

Just a quick recap of what we’ve learnt today…

You are grateful to people.

You are grateful for things.

I am grateful to you. And I am grateful for the fact you’ve taken the time to read this article. And I hope that you are grateful for this article and grateful to me for writing it.