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Is It Correct to Say “I Appreciate You”?

We all have people in our lives that we appreciate and value. Sometimes, we want to express this appreciation: maybe because of something they did for us, or perhaps for simply being themselves. So, when you want to express these feelings, is it correct to say, “I appreciate you?” 

It is correct to say “I appreciate you” alone or in a longer sentence. It can express gratitude or recognition in speaking and writing. “You” adds a personal note that works well in casual and formal settings. Whether your friend helps you move or speaks at your wedding, you can say, “I appreciate you” to show your gratitude for their contributions.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the meaning behind this sentence, how to use it, and what you could use instead in some contexts. You’ll also learn more about major sentences and how to use them correctly. 

What Does “I Appreciate You” Mean?

“I appreciate you” means the person speaking or writing recognizes the value of the person being addressed. 

Let’s break it down further to understand the source of this definition. First, “I” is a personal pronoun that means “the one who is speaking or writing” (source). 

“Appreciate” is a verb that means “to recognize how good someone or something is and to value them or it” (source). It is a transitive verb, meaning it requires an object: someone or something to appreciate (source). Other definitions of “appreciate” that do not apply in this context include: 

  • To understand the importance of a situation 
  • To increase in value 

“You” is another personal pronoun that means “the pronoun of the second person singular or plural, used of the person or persons being addressed” (source). 

Together, these three words express gratitude similar to “I am thankful for you” or “You are wonderful.”

How Do You Use “I Appreciate You”?

“I appreciate you” is a major sentence that includes a subject, verb, and object. You can use it independently or within a more complex sentence structure. 

The following types of sentence structures work well with “I appreciate you”:  

A simple sentence structure in which you use “I appreciate you” on its own (source):

  • Speaker 1: That’s the last one. I’m heading home for the day.
  • Speaker 2: Thank you! I appreciate you!

As an independent clause in a compound sentence structure, you combine “I appreciate you” with another independent clause containing a subject, verb, and object. For example: 

  • I appreciate you; your hard work makes a difference.
  • You are such a diligent worker; I appreciate you!

As an independent clause in a complex sentence structure, you combine “I appreciate you” with a dependent clause that provides more detail. For example: 

  • I appreciate you for going above and beyond on this project!
  • I appreciate you because you are almost always there for me when I need support.

In addition to these common sentence types, you might see “I appreciate you” in an informal structure, in which “you” takes the place of the pronoun “your” and combines it with a gerund verb. For example: 

  • I appreciate you coming to the fundraiser on Saturday.
  • I appreciate you helping me prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

When Can You Use “I Appreciate You”?

“Appreciate” is a present tense verb, so you should only use “I appreciate you” in the present tense. However, you can use it to point to events that occurred in the past, are occurring in the present, or will occur in the future. 

Here are several examples of how you might use “I appreciate you” in the present tense to refer to events in the past: 

  • Thanks for all you did to help the show go smoothly this weekend; I appreciate you!
  • I appreciate you for helping me move to my new house last weekend. 

Likewise, here are some examples of using “I appreciate you” in the present tense to refer to present events: 

  • Thank you for helping me move these boxes; I appreciate you!
  • Thank you for the advice; I appreciate you! 

Lastly, the following sentences show how you might use “I appreciate you” in the present tense to refer to future events:

  • I appreciate you volunteering to help at the race this weekend; looking forward to it!
  • Don’t forget my interview is this Friday; I appreciate you for offering to give me a ride! 

In What Context Can You Use “I Appreciate You”?

You can use “I appreciate you” casually or professionally, depending on the type of sentence structure you use. Many scenarios can benefit from a heartfelt expression of gratitude. 

You can use “I appreciate you” professionally with your colleagues or employees. This type of sentence is a great one to use when expressing gratitude in the workplace and can help to build morale and a positive atmosphere. 

In the same way, you can use it professionally in an educational setting. For example, a teacher might use this sentence when speaking with a student, and a student can use it to show gratitude toward a classmate. 

This is a slightly more sincere expression of gratitude than a simple “Thanks” or “Good job.” So, you should use “I appreciate you” when someone does something that helps you significantly or inconveniences themself to do something or help out in a way they were not required to. Here’s an example: 

  • Thank you so much for the pep talk before my presentation yesterday. I appreciate you

An important note to consider about this sentence is that it is more personal than other options. It shows appreciation for a person rather than their actions. So, you should be familiar with the person you address when you use this sentence. 

Using “I Appreciate You” in a Full Sentence

You can use “I appreciate you” on its own as a full sentence or within a larger and more complex sentence structure. 

When you use “I appreciate you” on its own, you can use it as an exclamatory sentence. This is most common in a brief or passing conversation, such as the example below: 

  • Speaker 1: Hi! Are you still coming to my showcase tomorrow night?
  • Speaker 2: Absolutely! I wouldn’t miss it.
  • Speaker 1: Great! I appreciate you!

When pairing the sentence with another clause, you can express why you appreciate them: 

  •  I appreciate you because of your positive, can-do attitude! 

Or, you can use the additional clause to express appreciation for multiple things or to expand on the appreciation. 

  • I appreciate you and everything you did to make this trip a success!

When Not to Use “I Appreciate You”

There are a few scenarios where you should not use “I appreciate you .” First, it is not appropriate to use “I appreciate you” falsely or sarcastically. Additionally, it’s not the best sentence to use when making a small expression of gratitude. 

Here’s an example of why you shouldn’t use this sentence when being sarcastic.

  • Speaker 1: Are you coming to the event tomorrow? 
  • Speaker 2: No, I can’t make it. 
  • Speaker 1: Well, thanks for nothing. I appreciate you! 

“I appreciate you” simply does not work well in a sarcastic tone. 

A minor expression of gratitude would be more appropriate in a scenario such as a class setting. When a classmate passes you a paper, saying “I appreciate you” would be too overstated. Instead, you should simply say, “Thanks.” 

What Can You Use Instead of “I Appreciate You”?

When “I appreciate you” isn’t quite the correct statement, there are many others to choose from, including similar statements, more casual statements and phrases, and more intimate or personal statements. 

If you want to express appreciation, but not on a personal level, you can say, “I appreciate it,” instead of, “I appreciate you.” Conversely, you can use “I love you” as a more personal statement than “I appreciate you.” 

These are some similar phrases you can put in place of “I appreciate you” that express the same sentiment: 

  • I am thankful for/to you.
  • I am grateful for/to you. 
  • You are amazing!
  • You are awesome!
  • I don’t know what I’d do without you!

Below are several more casual examples you can use instead of “I appreciate you.” In informal conversations, some substitute phrases may lack the subject and verb required for a complete sentence in English, though they can still act as if they were full sentences. These are called minor sentences.

  • Thank you.
  • Thank you so much.
  • Much appreciated!

Major Sentences

A major sentence is any complete sentence containing an independent clause (source). Major sentences make up a large portion of everyday writing and conversation, so it is helpful to understand the different types of major sentences that you might use. 

To be a major sentence, the sentence must include at least a subject, verb, and object, though it can also contain additional components. There are several different types of major sentences, and all are composed of both independent and dependent clauses.

An independent clause is any sentence that contains a subject (purple) and verb (red) and forms a complete thought (source).

  • I went to school today. 
  • The weather was nice today. 

A dependent clause may also contain both a subject and a verb, but they do not convey a complete thought on their own. Instead, they require an independent clause to form a complete thought (source). 

  • I went to school today even though it was Saturday. 
  • The weather was nice today for the picnic. 

A simple sentence contains only a subject, verb, and object. “I appreciate you” is a simple sentence. These types of sentences are concise, with only one independent clause. You might pose them as a statement, a question, or an exclamation. 

  • You are kind. 
  • Have you visited that city? 
  • I love it! 

A compound sentence contains two independent clauses, each composed of a subject, verb, and object. When you pose a compound sentence as a question or exclamation, the second clause is usually the part of the sentence that serves this purpose. You can join these with a conjunction or a semicolon.

  • I really enjoyed this vacation, and I can’t wait to visit here again someday. 
  • I want to buy this book; have you heard of it before?
  • This concert is this weekend; I can’t wait! 

A complex sentence also contains two clauses: one independent clause and one dependent clause. 

  • I went to the store because I needed sour cream
  • Why did you go to sleep so late when you knew you would be tired the next day

Final Thoughts

“I appreciate you” is a helpful simple sentence to use when you are expressing gratitude or giving recognition to someone on a personal level. You might use it in writing or conversation. 

However, this sentence might not always be the best one to use depending on the context, and numerous other phrases are available that might work better for your conversation. 

You can use “I appreciate you” on its own or within a larger sentence structure. Understanding how to form and use different sentence structures is key to developing excellent communication skills in the English language.