What is the difference between being thankful and being grateful :) ?

English is not my first language, and both words seem to mean the same, to me. Is there any difference, in meaning or in usage?

Do you use both? If not, which do you prefer, and how/when do you use it?

Thank you for your answers! :)

Have a wonderful day! :)


I know that they're synonymous (and I know what synonymous are...), but there seem to be a difference in usage....

17 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Thankful means someone else did something for you.

    Grateful means you appreciate what you have, or what was done.

  • 1 decade ago

    english comes from many sources and so has different words that mean almost the same thing. in some places people have given the synonyms differrent connotations, but those change with time.

    thank - comes from the germanic dank

    grate - comes from the latin gratia (or gracias as your neigbours in america latina would say).

    but basically it's the same.

    look how in portuguese you got "agradecer" and "obrigado", one means you owe someone something and the other that you just thank them for what they've done, but people dont really look at that difference and use them interchangeably.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I checked an etymology reference and learned that the difference is that one comes from a primitive Germanic root [1] while the other comes from Latin [2]. Modern English has a lot of this sort of redundancy for historical reasons having to do with the French.

  • 1 decade ago

    You're right to question this. I don't really blame you for wondering. They are very similar in meaning. It's hard to explain, but I would say that when you are thankfull you're probably verbally thanking someone for something they gave you or did for you, but being grateful is more internal and in general. It's an overall happy feeling for things in the past and/or present that you're happy exist or happend.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well to me i think its more of a cultural meaning behind those words that make them different. I believe that thankful is towards everyday type of things, like opening the door, helping you carry something etc. While grateful towards things that are more extraordinary and expectional, like saving you from drowning. Hope this helps...

  • Kallan
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Sweetie, some words in English are interchangeable.. we call them Synonyms.. words with similar meanings.. thankful and grateful are two words that are synonymous.

    Both mean to appreciate benefits received.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Being thankful is when you thank someonw alot, being grateful is when you are happy that someone helped you in some way or you acknowledge the deed in a good light.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Grateful pleasing to the senses; gratifying; delicious; as, a grateful present; food grateful to the palate; grateful sleep.

    Syn. Thankful; pleasing; acceptable; gratifying; agreeable; welcome; delightful; delicious.

    Thankful impressed with a sense of kindness received, being conscious of a benefit you have received. Ultimately, it's what keeps one humble.

  • 1 decade ago

    They mean pretty much the same, although when people say "thankful" they usually mean to God; "grateful" is more often to a person.

    On the other hand, the Grateful Dead . . .

  • 1 decade ago

    There is no difference between them I guess. I'm thankful or I'm grateful convey the same meaning.


    1-Appreciative of benefits received; thankful.

    2-Expressing gratitude.

    3-Affording pleasure or comfort; agreeable.


    1-Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.

    2-Expressive of gratitude: a thankful smile.

    Source(s): American Heritage Dictionary
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