Ask Difference

Gratitude vs. Thankfulness — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Published on October 26, 2023
Gratitude is a deep, sustained feeling of appreciation, while thankfulness is an immediate expression of gratitude for a specific act or situation.
Gratitude vs. Thankfulness — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Gratitude and Thankfulness


Key Differences

Gratitude is an overarching feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for life's blessings, both big and small. This emotion is often described as a deeper, more sustained sensation, encompassing a broad range of things one is grateful for. Gratitude can be cultivated over time, leading to a more positive outlook on life and a deeper connection to others.
Thankfulness, on the other hand, often manifests in response to specific acts of kindness or positive events. It is a direct acknowledgment of something beneficial that one has received, whether it's a physical gift, an act of service, or a kind word. Thankfulness is more of an immediate reaction, while gratitude is a continuous state of being.
Both gratitude and thankfulness are positive emotions that contribute to a person's overall well-being. Experiencing thankfulness can lead to a more sustained feeling of gratitude, as recognizing the good things in life can foster a more appreciative mindset.
However, while thankfulness is often expressed outwardly—such as saying "thank you"—gratitude can be both an internal and external experience. One can feel gratitude without always expressing it, though expressing gratitude often magnifies its benefits.
In essence, while both gratitude and thankfulness revolve around appreciation, gratitude is a broader, more encompassing emotion, and thankfulness is a direct response to a particular act or situation that evokes feelings of gratitude.

Comparison Chart


A deep, sustained appreciation.
Immediate response to specific acts or events.


Long-term, continuous feeling.
Often momentary, tied to a specific event.


Can be both internal and external.
Commonly expressed outwardly.


Encompasses broader life blessings.
Linked to specific instances or gestures.


Cultivated mindset.
Triggered by external events or actions.

Compare with Definitions


A profound acknowledgment of positive experiences.
Living each day with gratitude can transform one's perspective.


A feeling of gratitude for a specific act.
Her thankfulness was evident when she received the surprise.


A response to received benefits, whether tangible or intangible.
His letter overflowed with gratitude for the mentorship provided.


An acknowledgment of a benefit received.
The award filled her with thankfulness for her team's efforts.


A feeling of deep appreciation.
Her eyes shimmered with gratitude for the unexpected gift.


A declaration of gratitude.
His card was a simple gesture of thankfulness.


Recognizing and valuing acts of kindness.
His heart swelled with gratitude after the stranger's help.


Expressing appreciation in response to kindness.
He wore a smile of thankfulness after the timely help.


A state of thankfulness and contentment.
She practiced daily rituals to cultivate gratitude.


Feeling blessed for a particular situation or gift.
The community's support filled her with thankfulness.


The state of being grateful; thankfulness.


Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.


The state of being grateful.


Expressive of gratitude
A thankful smile.


The state of being grateful; warm and friendly feeling toward a benefactor; kindness awakened by a favor received; thankfulness.
The debt immense of endless gratitude.


The state of being thankful.


A feeling of thankfulness and appreciation;
He was overwhelmed with gratitude for their help


Warm friendly feelings of gratitude

Common Curiosities

Is thankfulness always verbal?

No, thankfulness can be shown through gestures, actions, or expressions.

Are gratitude and thankfulness the same?

While related, gratitude is a deeper, sustained feeling, while thankfulness is a specific expression of gratitude.

Can one feel gratitude without expressing thankfulness?

Yes, gratitude can be an internal feeling without outward expression, though expressing it can amplify its effects.

Can practicing thankfulness lead to more gratitude?

Yes, regularly recognizing and expressing thanks can cultivate a mindset of gratitude.

Why is gratitude considered deeper than thankfulness?

Gratitude encompasses a wider range of life's blessings, while thankfulness is often for specific acts/events.

How can one practice gratitude?

Through reflection, mindfulness, journaling, and expressing appreciation regularly.

Is it possible to feel gratitude for challenges?

Yes, challenges can lead to growth, and recognizing this can evoke gratitude.

Is gratitude a universal feeling?

While expressions may vary, feelings of gratitude are found across cultures and societies.

Can thankfulness be cultivated?

Yes, by regularly acknowledging and appreciating positive events and gestures.

Is gratitude only in response to positive events?

No, one can feel gratitude even during challenges, recognizing growth or support received.

How can one show thankfulness without words?

Through gestures, gifts, acts of kindness, or simply a heartfelt smile.

Why is thankfulness important?

It acknowledges kindness and strengthens bonds, fostering positive connections.

Is thankfulness only a reaction?

Primarily yes, as it's a response to specific acts or situations.

Can gratitude impact well-being?

Yes, consistent feelings of gratitude have been linked to increased well-being and happiness.

How can one differentiate between feelings of gratitude and thankfulness?

Gratitude is broader and more sustained, while thankfulness is immediate and tied to specific instances.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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