It’s easy to mix up “greatful” and “grateful.” Which form should you use? Which represents the correct spelling?
Fortunately, the answer to those questions is also easy.
When determining which word to use, grateful is always the correct choice. Yes, always.
Why? Because greatful isn’t a word. It’s just a common misspelling of the word grateful—your grammar checker will always pick this one up.
The Word Grateful
The word grateful, always the correct choice over greatful, is related to gratitude. The “grat” spelling in grateful reflects the “grat” spelling in gratitude.
The word gratitude is a noun that describes the state of being thankful, or the feeling of appreciating something.
To have gratitude for something or someone is to feel thankful for that something or someone.
While gratitude is a noun—a feeling, quality, state of being—grateful is an adjective describing someone who is thankful for or appreciative of something they have received.
Adjectives describe nouns or pronouns and answer the question “what kind?” A person who has that feeling of thankfulness is a grateful person.
Examples of Grateful in Sentences
Notice how in each of these examples, grateful is used to describe the bold noun or pronoun.
- We are truly grateful for your kindness.
- I am beyond grateful for this wonderful opportunity!
- The tired marathoner was grateful for the encouragement from the cheering crowd.
- You should be grateful that you didn’t face a harsher consequence!
- Sometimes, you can improve your mood by thinking about the things you are grateful for.
- Sue was eternally grateful to the doctors for saving her life.
Grateful most often describes people, but it can also be used to describe the feeling included in or attached to things (still nouns and still bold), as shown in the next set of examples.
- He wrote a grateful letter to his supporters.
- The child accepted the cookie with a grateful smile.
- I picked up the scared puppy and his grateful gaze convinced me to keep him!
- The guest of honor closed the event by expressing grateful remarks for the celebration.
Synonyms for Grateful
It’s a good idea to vary your word choice in your work. If you find yourself using “grateful” repetitively, try replacing it with one of these synonyms:
- Appreciative: We are so appreciative of your efforts.
- Thankful: We are so thankful for your efforts.
- Obliged: We are very much obliged to you for your efforts.
- Blessed: We are blessed by your efforts.
- Indebted: We are indebted to you for your efforts.
How to Use Gratefully
The word gratefully is the adverb form of the adjective grateful, and the noun gratitude. Adverbs modify adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs. They can answer the questions when, where, how, and to what extent (how much or how long).
The adverb gratefully answers the “how” question.
Examples of Gratefully in Sentences
The verb, adjective, or adverb modified by gratefully is in bold.
- We accepted the water gratefully.
- Gratefully, she sat down after being on her feet all day.
- All of your donations are gratefully received.
- He was starving and ate the sandwich gratefully.
- “That was so kind of you!” she said gratefully.
You might also use gratefully as a closing for a thank you letter. In doing so, you are expressing how (with what feeling) you are writing the letter.
Thanks so much for the gift!
So, Which Is Correct: Greatful or Grateful?
Well, Is Greatful Ever a Correct Spelling? Nope!
It’s rare that a matter of grammar or spelling is so straightforward, but with grateful and greatful it is. And I, for one, am grateful for this straightforwardness, which can be summed up this way: Never use greatful.
Remember, greatful is not a word so it has no meaning.
Greatful and grateful sound alike, but only grateful holds “word status” and has an actual definition. Greatful is an incorrect spelling of grateful and is not a word at all. Therefore, using it should be universally avoided. The correct word is only ever grateful!
Of course, slip ups can happen. If you’re ever confused, hop on over to ProWritingAid’s grammar checker—it’ll highlight any places where you've misused greatful. That’s something to be grateful for, right?