I appreciate it – Meaning, origin and alternatives

Have you ever heard someone say to you “I appreciate it”? This seems like one of those words that the English language has invented just for the sake of it. However, there is a strong meaning to it, and by understanding this phrase, you can make better use out of the English language.

To appreciate literally means to understand the value of something. You say “I appreciate it” when somebody has done something for you, which makes your life, day, or job easier. Usually, you would use this phrase when someone has gone out of their way and put in extra effort for you.

In this article, we will be going over what it means, when you might hear it, why it matters, and how it differs from “Thank You”.

The origin of “appreciate”

First of all, let’s take a look at where the word “Appreciate” comes from. The English language is not particularly original. In the past, we were invaded many times. As a result, we’ve picked up most of our words from other languages.

“Appreciate” comes from the Latin “Appretiatus” which means to set a price to something. When we “appreciate” something, we are giving it a high price.

You might hear the sentence “appreciate in value”. However, we won’t be covering this definition in the article.

When you might hear or say “I appreciate it”


The most common time you will be told “I appreciate it” is after your actions. This will often occur when you help someone with something. It could be something as small as helping your neighbour with the gardening, or it could be donating your kidney to save someone.

It’s commonly said to people who work in customer services when someone does more than their job description to make the customer happy.

When your friend gives up their spare time to help you, you might want to tell them that you “appreciate it”.


Another time you might be told “I appreciate it” is after you compliment someone. When someone says “I appreciate it” that usually means they feel great about what you’ve just said to them, and your compliment has put them in a good mood.

On the other hand, when someone replies to a compliment with “thanks”, this is generally an indication that you don’t appreciate it and they feel as though you are being creepy.

When someone appreciates the compliment you’ve given them, it means they value it, and your compliment to them has just made their day better.


Thirdly, you might hear “I appreciate it” after you’ve given somebody a present or a gift. From our youth, we’re taught that we should always say “thank you” after being given a present. This should be said whether we’re happy or not.

However, when we say “I appreciate it”, this is generally an indication that we genuinely want what we’ve just received. Usually, such presents will be either useful or wanted.

You’re not just polite; you’re actually happy about the present you’ve been given. When we understand the value of such a present, we’re not talking about financial value, but we’re talking about usefulness and happiness that it brings.


And then finally, you might say that you “appreciate” something when referring to the importance of a fact. You understand that what’s a stake has the potential to be very damaging.

You know that if something goes wrong, the consequences could be extremely negative for the person you’re talking to.

For example, you might say “I appreciate your job is on the line, but if you work with me, I can put you at the top of your company”.

You understand the consequences, and you want them to know that you understand.

Thank You

Some people might tell you that “I appreciate it” is the same thing as saying “Thank You”. But this assumption is not correct.

“Thank You” is just manners 101. It’s what we’re taught to say from when we’re very young. All it means is that we understand that somebody has done something for us. It’s usually said out of habit.

When someone has done something for you, you should say “thank you”. It doesn’t matter what it is or how useful it actually is to you. You are simply acknowledging that somebody else has done something for you.

Appreciate is better

On the other hand, when you say “I appreciate it”, you’re showing that you actually mean it, and you’re not just saying it because it’s what you’ve always been taught to say.

This takes it a step further than simply saying “Thank You”.

You aren’t just acknowledging that somebody has done something for you. Rather, you understand that what they have done is of value. This could be because you now have one less job to do, because you feel better about yourself, or because you have received something that will be of great use to you.

Alternatives to saying “I appreciate it”

“Thank You” is what we’re taught to say. But there are plenty of other ways to show gratitude.

You could complement the actions of somebody by saying “That’s fantastic” or “That’s great”. Doing so is showing that you like the result of what someone has done.

If you’re in a more informal situation, you might opt for the more casual “Thanks” or even “cheers”. These words should not be used when someone has gone through a lot of effort for you.

And finally, you could pay a compliment to the person doing something for you. This is usually done by saying “You’re a star”. But I remember I was once told: “You are a gentleman and a scholar”.


To say “I appreciate it” means that you understand the value of something. Usually, this will be said when you have gone out of your way to make somebodies day better. The word comes from the Latin “Appretiatus” which means to set a price to.

Normally, you would say this phrase when talking about someone’s actions, compliments, gifts, or when you understand the severity of a situation.

“I appreciate it” is much better than “Thank You” as it shows we actually mean it.