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Appreciation of or for: When to Use Each Preposition in Conjunction with Appreciation

We’ve all greatly appreciated a friend’s help or an act of kindness from a stranger, but when it comes to recognizing a person’s thoughtfulness, which is correct: “appreciation of” or “appreciation for”

The correct way to communicate appreciation depends on the context. If you are showing that you appreciate someone for the benefits or qualities that he/she provides, the correct preposition is “of.” You should use the preposition “for” to show appreciation for concepts or ideas with which you intend to communicate general gratitude or thankfulness.

The difference in meaning between “appreciation for” and “appreciation of” is slight and often hard to differentiate. Keep reading to learn more about prepositions, their role in your writing, and how to communicate appreciation correctly.

Understanding the Difference Between “Appreciation Of” and “Appreciation For”

At this point, you should start to understand the role of prepositions in your writing, as well as the slight difference in meaning when using “for” and “of.” 

Remember that prepositions can overlap with regard to what category that they fall into — you do not need to remember the categories, nor all of the prepositions in the English language. 

Prepositions will become more and more familiar to you as you continue to grow in your understanding of English. 

When to Use “In Appreciation Of”

The simplest way to remember when to use “of” versus “for” is to ask yourself, “am I showing appreciation for specific qualities or benefits provided?”

If your answer is yes, then you’ll want to use “of,” not “for.” If your answer is “no,” then you’ll likely want to choose “for” as your preposition. 

Take a look at a couple of examples below:

In appreciation of your work, I have decided to give you an extra day off. 

They gave the donation in appreciation of all of the help the Red Cross provided during the disaster.  

If you look closely at the above sentences, you can see the provision of some benefit or quality in each.

In the first, they show appreciation for the work provided. In the second, they show appreciation for the help provided. In each instance, we can see a tangible quality or benefit; thus, the correct preposition to use is “of.”

When to Use “Appreciation For” 

In contrast to “appreciation of,” stating appreciation “for” something indicates general thankfulness or gratitude, not for a particular benefit, action, or quality, but, rather, a more holistic feeling of being or feeling thankful. Here are a few examples:

  1. I felt a deep appreciation for the way my mother raised me.
  2. Our appreciation for you has continued to grow.
  3. His appreciation for his wife was evident. 

In each of these examples, the writer shows appreciation for something more general — it is an attitude or feeling of gratefulness for a person or idea, not a specific benefit given. 

Prepositions: Little Words with a Lot of Meaning

Prepositions can be tricky. Some native English speakers will tell you that you should never end a sentence with a preposition.

While that may be technically true, at least according to many grammar school teachers, many also widely contest it as the language continues to evolve. 

The fact is many sentences simply sound better with the preposition dangling at the end (source). There are quite a few of these mind-boggling concepts with English grammar, including confusion about the prepositions “of” and “for.”

Another reason prepositions can be tricky when learning English is that often, in other languages, they’ll use a preposition in a particular expression while that same expression in English does not require one — and vice versa (source). 

But before we get into which preposition to use in conjunction with “appreciation,” we’ll first take a look at prepositions as a whole and how they work as part of your sentences. 

What Are Prepositions? 

Prepositions include words or groups of words that generally come before a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase.

Their primary job is to create a connection between the noun and other words within a sentence to show time, place, location, relationship, direction, or even introduction (source).

There are other categories, too, however. These include prepositions of reason or purpose, prepositions of agency or causation, and prepositions of connection.

When we consider the prepositions “of” and “for,” we are most likely talking about these more nuanced categories.  

Prepositions are also a closed class of words. That means that the list doesn’t ever change or grow, unlike other new words often added to the English Language, which is helpful for memorization purposes.  

However, you do not need to memorize all 150 prepositions in the English language. You’ll begin to recognize them with more automaticity with time, and you’ll be surprised how often you use prepositions without even knowing it.  

It is important to identify the distinction between some uses of prepositions in order to know which to use when, particularly when it comes to prepositions in connection with the noun “appreciation,” which we will get into shortly.  

The preposition is small — many of them are less than six letters — but essential. They’re technically the glue that holds your sentence together, and many prepositions identify or clarify relationships between nouns and objects in your sentences. 

Prepositions Showing Direction, Movement, Time, or Location

PrepositionExample Sentence
to (direction)I moved to the United States from Puerto Rico.
on or onto (movement)I placed the book onto the table. 
from (direction)I moved from France to the United States.
at (time)Meet me at noon for lunch.
in (time) I will go to the store in five minutes.
on (location)I put the book on the table.
above (location)The sign hangs above the store entrance.

Prepositions showing direction are quite common and potentially make up many of the words on the full list of prepositions. Others not listed above include above, along, across, away from, over, under or beneath, and around.

Focus on Intent

It matters less which category a preposition falls into and more that you understand the intended meaning — whether to show time, movement, or direction. Many prepositions can fall into multiple categories, depending on how you use them. 

“For” is a preposition of time, but it differs from the meaning you’d find when you say you have an appreciation for someone or something.

Within the category of time, “for” indicates a connection between how long something has occurred, such as in “I’ve been working at the same company for four years.”

Prepositions like “above” and “over” can also be confusing. It is correct to say that you placed a blanket over the chair, but it would be incorrect to say that you placed a blanket above the chair.

The latter sentence would indicate that the blanket is hanging on the wall above the couch. 

So, just be careful that you differentiate between a few of these trickier ones — but don’t worry too much, you’ll become much more familiar with these slight differences in meaning as you become more fluent in many of these English expressions.

Next, we’ll take a look at prepositions that can show causal relationships, reason or purpose, and connection, the latter two where you’ll find “for” and “of.” 

Prepositions that Show a Causal Relationship

PrepositionsMeaning
byThe quiz was taken by all of the students in the class.
withThe girl’s smile was filled with joy.
withoutI can’t go to my tennis match without my racket.

There are fewer prepositions of causal relationships than other categories. These are also called prepositions of agency or instrument.

Just remember that these prepositions indicate that one thing (or person) has made another thing happen. You’ll most often find these prepositions when you are writing in the passive voice.  

However, you should use passive voice discriminately in your writing, as most often, you’ll want to use active voice. Passive voice simply means that your sentence’s subject is acted upon or receiving the action rather than performing the action (source). 

You’ll notice that each of the examples in the above chart reflects passive voice.   

Prepositions that Show Reason or Purpose

PrepositionsMeaning
forHe made dinner for his family.
throughThrough her writing, we learned about the realities of racism.
because ofWe won the game because of the last touchdown.
fromMy sister taught me a lot from her own experiences.

As mentioned above, prepositions can fall into multiple categories, and you’ll find the preposition “for” in this category as well as in the category showing time. 

In showing reason or purpose with a preposition, “for” is used in conjunction with the noun appreciation to show that there is a reason or purpose for the idea or concept of appreciation.  Let’s take a look at the example above in more detail below.

He made dinner for his family.

In this sentence, we use “for” to show that the reason the subject (he) made dinner was for his family. Let’s look at another similar sentence.

His family felt appreciation for the dinner he had made. 

In the second sentence, we use “for” after appreciation to show that the family felt gratitude for the dinner.

Note that we are not using “of” in this instance with appreciation because we are not referring to specific qualities or benefits provided, but rather gratitude for a concept or idea (or action), making dinner.  

Prepositions that Show a Connection

Prepositions Meaning
ofA part of his leg was broken in the accident.
toI wanted to impress my husband with a new dessert. 
withI took my dog with me to the park.

Prepositions of connection can describe possession, a relationship, or accompaniment (as seen in with). Here we find the preposition “of” to show connection or possession given that a part of the leg was broken, which belongs to the whole.  

But “of” can also be used in other ways, including to show origin, or as we’ll see with the noun appreciation, to show the benefits or qualities that something provides.

When referring to origins, we may see a sentence like this: “I am of Spanish descent.” Here, the preposition “of” indicates that the speaker is Spanish. 

One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that you’re more likely to find the preposition “from” when it comes to origin. So, rather than stating that you are of Spanish descent, you might simply say, “I am from Spain” or “I am from Italy,” for example.

When you use “of” in conjunction with the noun “appreciation,” you’re showing that your appreciation is because of the benefits that something (or someone) provides. Here is an example sentence:

In appreciation of the flowers sent that brightened my day, I wanted to send a thank-you card.  

In the above sentence, we use the preposition “of” with “appreciation” to show that the flowers provided a benefit or quality, specifically brightening the subject’s day. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.

Next, we’ll look at this idea in more detail, as well as a few comparisons between “of” and “for,” particularly when we use them with “appreciation.” 

Final Thoughts

Prepositions are an essential part of your writing, and you’ll find them in nearly every sentence you write.

It matters less that you know what category each preposition falls into, especially since there is a lot of overlap, and more that you begin to understand how to use them correctly within the context you are writing.  

Just remember that when it comes to differentiating between appreciation of versus appreciation for, you’ll want to ask yourself whether you are showing appreciation for a particular benefit or quality or a more holistic feeling of thankfulness or gratitude.

If it is the former, choose the preposition “of.” If it is the latter, you’ll want to use “for.” 

If you’d like to learn more about prepositions in conjunction with other nouns, take a look at our articles on “beneficial for” or “beneficial to” or “knowledge on” or “knowledge of.”