Grateful Vs. Greatful: Know the Correct Spelling

Have you been writing along and suddenly become stumped as to whether you should use the word grateful or greatful? Pretty big confusion there! And it’s easy to get the two words mixed up. “Greatful” has a familiar base word, while grateful can ring a bell in mind, but difficult to recall if it was the right one.

Grateful or Greatful — Know the Difference

There’s a big difference between “grateful” and “greatful.” Grateful is the correct spelling of the word, while “greatful” is not a word in the English dictionary. Make sure to always avoid “greatful,” yes, ALWAYS!

Grateful is feeling or expressing thankfulness for the kindness shown or received. It is the adjective form of gratitude.

Example: We’re very grateful for your hospitality in this foreign land.

If we talk about “greatful,” it might look like a correct word at first glance, but it is not a real word. We have “great” as a real word in the dictionary, meaning something or someone considerably good or prominent.

Even though the first syllable of great and grateful sounds alike, they can’t be spelled the same way. This gets confusing because “great” is something that people are used to spelling. It is just natural to think that grateful would be spelled in a similar way.

Since both great and grateful relate to positive emotions, it often leads to confusion when spelling the word. 

person holding white and black i love you print card
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

How Do You Spell Grateful and Remember It Too?

Use a mnemonic device or perform a mental check when unsure which spelling to use in your writing content.

The trick is to keep the definition in mind. Grateful is a way to express gratitude to someone or for something. Map the “grat” of grateful to the “grat” in gratitude, and you won’t forget the spelling.

If this trick doesn’t work for you, think of the “ate” in the word grateful. Most people are thankful for the meals they ate over Thanksgiving or other holidays.

The third way could be a little unconventional, but it is a mnemonic device. When trying to remember the right spelling, think of the sewer gates. The first syllable in the grate and grateful have the same spelling that can assist you in remembering the word. The grates are important to us, and we should be very thankful as our streets would flood without them.

When to Use Grateful in a Sentence?

Grateful is a word that denotes the emotion of being very appreciative or thankful for someone’s kindness. Usually, you are grateful for something or grateful to someone. Following are some examples.

  • I am very grateful for all your help in this challenging time.
  • I am grateful to you for everything you have done for my family.

To Wrap Up

There is a subtle difference between the word “grateful” and “greatful” where one is correct, and the other is universally incorrect.

“Grateful” means feeling indebted and thankful, while “greatful” is not a word in English and has no definition at all. So, if someone asks, how do you spell grateful? Make sure you don’t drag the “e” before the “a” in the word.

Knowing the correct spelling and how to use the word can help you convey the correct message and avoid errors in writing.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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