#226: 6 Must-Have Phrases to Express Gratitude in English

Dec 15, 2021 | Advanced Vocabulary, English Conversation

Saying ‘thank you’ is a common, simple way to express gratitude or show your appreciation when your coworkers wish you happy birthday or when someone helps you with a task.

But gratitude is much more than a simple thank you.

I’m sure you’ve read blog posts or listened to podcasts on the importance of practicing gratitude or starting a gratitude journal.

In fact, inside my Confident Women Community, it’s a regular hot topic of conversation with regular exchanges on developing a practice of gratitude.

As you reflect on the past year or years, how can you best express gratitude in English? 

In this Confident English lesson, you’ll learn 6 new ways to express gratitude.

Rather than overuse “I’m thankful for…,” you’ll be able to confidently incorporate richer word choices to communicate the depth of your gratitude. 

You’ll also learn a few creative tips for expressing gratitude.

6 Must-Have Phrases to Express Gratitude in English

Before we dive in, let’s explore what gratitude truly means.

A simple dictionary definition states that gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

However, as you’ve likely discovered, the practice of gratitude is more profound.

Gratitude is a selfless, deep appreciation for the things we receive, whether tangible or intangible, and is synonymous with thankfulness. 

A practice of gratitude can help you feel more positive, build stronger relationships, and experience catharsis or the release of strong emotions. 

Furthermore, regularly expressing gratitude helps you to communicate, reminisce about, and relish your past experiences.

While English speakers often say ‘thank you’ as an expression of gratitude towards someone, we also go beyond a simple ‘thank you’ to communicate our gratitude for a past event or experience.

Here are 6 ways to do that:


Phrase #1: I’m grateful/thankful

Rather than say that you’re glad, you can go a step further and say “I’m grateful…” or “I’m thankful…”

Here are some common collocations for the words ‘grateful’ and ‘thankful’:

  • I’m grateful/thankful for
  • I’m grateful/thankful to [verb]
  • I’m grateful/thankful that
  • I’m grateful/thankful to [indirect object]

For example, if you appreciate a mentor’s past actions towards you, you might say: 

  • I’m grateful to my mentor for teaching me effective strategies for success.”

Simply using “I’m grateful”  communicates a deep sense of gratitude and a positive relationship.

Phrase #2: I appreciate

Of course, you can be a little more direct and simply say “I appreciate.”

In the right moment, you may use one of the following phrases:

  • I appreciate that
  • I appreciate the fact that
  • I appreciate [indirect object]
  • I appreciate how

When you want to express your gratitude for an experience, you might say: 

  • I appreciate how my years of training got me through the toughest years of my career.” 

Not only does ‘appreciate’ communicate gratitude, but it also indicates recognition given to the influence of an experience. 

Phrase #3: I feel blessed

Let’s take it a step further and dive deeper into the feeling of gratitude. 

When you feel a deep sense of gratitude, you might say the phrase “I feel blessed.”

Here are some common collocations:

  • I feel blessed that
  • I feel blessed to
  • I feel blessed for
  • I feel blessed with

In your life, there’s at least one person, opportunity, or experience that you feel a deep sense of gratitude towards. 

For instance, if we are deeply grateful for a second chance or opportunity, we might say:

  • I felt blessed for having another opportunity to rebuild my business.”

By using the phrase, you express a deep sense of gratitude for a past experience.

Phrase #4: I count my blessings

Speaking about blessings, have you heard the popular idiom “to count one’s blessings?”

English speakers often use this idiom to express recognition for all the positive things that one should be grateful for having in life. 

  • For instance, we might say “I count my blessings when I think of how lucky I was to be hired before the recession hit.”

In addition, you may have heard “I count my blessings twice.”

The phrase is often used to communicate a stronger feeling of gratitude and the equivalent of being valued as more than one blessing. 

  • I count my blessings twice that my daughter was able to graduate despite the many ups and downs in her life.”

Phrase #5: I’m fortunate

Every now and then, reminiscing about a past event may also bring recognition to feeling lucky, as well as thankful.

When we want to express that a past experience was due to good fortune, serendipity, or good luck, we use the phrase “I’m fortunate.”

Let’s take a look at some common structures:

  • I’m fortunate to [verb]
  • I’m fortunate that
  • I’m fortunate for having

If I feel lucky to have met someone at the right time, I might say

  • “I was fortunate enough to meet the mechanic on my way home. If he hadn’t been there, I would’ve had to get my car towed.”

Phrase #6: I’m indebted

However, sometimes our memory of the people who helped us is more vivid than the event. They may have shown extreme kindness, empathy, or generosity towards you. 

In these moments, you may want to express how your gratitude runs deep to the point of wanting to show them the same kindness in the future. 

So, you might say the following:

  • I’m indebted to [person]

For example, “I’m forever indebted to my sister for guiding me through the most difficult point in my life.” 

Now that you have 6 new ways to express gratitude in English, let’s finish with some creative tips to put gratitude into practice.

Tip #1: Use Intensifiers

  • Forever’, ‘deeply’, ‘eternally’, ‘extremely’, and ‘definitely’ are among several other intensifiers that can be combined with the phrases to communicate the degree to which you feel gratitude. 
  • For example, I might say “I’m eternally grateful for the support and kindness my neighbor showed when our house was robbed.”


Tip #2: Keep a Gratitude Journal

  • In the hustle and bustle of life’s many ups and downs, we may be blinded by the negatives. Starting a gratitude journal is a great way to not only practice the phrases but to also create a positive habit. 
  • Set time aside each day to write down 3-5 things that you are grateful for having.
  • On days when you’re feeling overwhelmed or negative, your journal will be a good reminder. Remember, even the little things count! 


Tip #3: Write a note/letter

  • Never underestimate the power of a hand-written note. 
  • The next time you want to show your gratitude towards someone, consider writing a thoughtful note. You’d be surprised as to how rare a practice this is and at how uplifted the receiver feels. 
  • Whether you decide to write an email, or go the extra mile to write a handwritten letter, receiving a note from someone is always memorable. 

To immediately get comfortable using these must-have phrases for expressing gratitude, here are a couple of questions to consider:

  1. Which of the phrases in today’s lesson did you add to your arsenal of positive communication? 
  2. What past event or experience do you feel gratitude towards? In what ways does this experience or person bring positivity to your life?

I look forward to hearing your responses. The best place to share is in the comment section below.

~ Annemarie


P.S. Are you looking for a community to provide support, help you stay motivated, and guarantee that you grow? Check out our Confident Women Community.

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