Grateful FOR or TO? Which is the correct preposition?

We use “grateful for” when we want to show the reason for our gratitude and “grateful to” when we want to show the direction of our gratitude.

Example to show the difference:

I am grateful to you for giving me a back massage. 

As you can see above, we use “to” to show the direction of the gratitude( I am thankful to you) and “for” to show why we are grateful(for the back massage). 

The word grateful means that we have a feeling of appreciation for something done for us or that exists.

Grateful For

We use the preposition “for” with verbs and adjectives often to emphasise the reason why we do things. Think about the example “Thank you for helping me with my homework”. You want to connect “Thank you” and show the reason for your gratitude. 


I am very grateful for your help.

I am grateful for my laptop. It helps me to do my work.

Grateful To

The preposition “to” is usually used to mean “in the direction of” when used with a verb or an adjective. This “to” can be physically “moving in the direction of” or it can be metaphorical. Let’s look at some examples of “grateful” with the preposition “to”:

I am grateful to my mother for always buying me books.

I am grateful to mother nature for providing me with water to drink.


We generally use “grateful for” when grateful is followed by a noun.

I am grateful for coffee.

We generally need an infinitive after “grateful” so we use “to” with verbs.

I am grateful to learn about your wonderful life.

Grateful Of

“Grateful of” is usually incorrect in English. There are certain instances when “grateful of” can be ok but it is usually an old fashioned/formal way of saying “grateful for”.

Learn about greatful and grateful here.

Final thoughts 

One of the easiest ways to explain the difference between “grateful for” and “grateful to” is that we use “grateful for” for something and “grateful to” with someone. Although not always the case, this will help you in the majority of sentences.