Difference Between Thankful and Grateful

Thankful vs Grateful

Most of us express our feelings through words only. In formal relations like in offices and other institutions, people say they are thankful or grateful whenever someone else shows a favor or does a work for them. People use these words interchangeably as if they were synonyms. In fact, dictionaries tell us that they are one and the same and there are no differences between being thankful and being grateful. Let us find out if this is true or there are any differences between thankful and grateful.


Thankful is a word that is used by people in nearly all situations. You say thank you to someone who passes you a glass of water and also to a salesman in a grocery store who brings the required product for you. It has become a word to show you are courteous. But you are thankful to any act of another person that has made it more convenient and easy for you. You let the other person know that you appreciate his act when you say you are thankful. Being thankful shows that you have a sense of relief as what has happened is what you expected and no more.


There are situations in life when thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough. It is not able to express the kind of gratitude you feel towards a person who has obliged you in some manner. This is when you say you are grateful. You are grateful to God for having given you life, food, shelter and a beautiful family, but you also feel grateful to someone who does a special favor to you in real life. When you say or write that you are grateful, you have a deep sense of gratitude that is not reflected with a simple thank you.

Thankful vs Grateful

Dictionaries make no difference between thankful and grateful and list one as the synonym of the other. But thank you has become so common that it has lost its magic especially in situations when you want to express your deep sense of gratitude towards someone who has done some favor to you. Grateful carries meaning and weight whereas thankful is so common that you use it without any sense of gratitude. Being thankful expresses your sense of appreciation whereas grateful expresses your sense of deep gratitude.