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“I Appreciate You”: A Sentimental and Misguided Phrase

“I appreciate you” is bad grammar

Over the last decade or so, people have increasingly used the phrase “I appreciate you”; as opposed to “I appreciate it.” It could be a southern thing, or it could be nationwide. Wherever this abominable phrase began, it needs to be discarded as unsentimentally as possible.

I know, people are just trying to be nice when they say they appreciate me. It’s meant to create warm and fuzzy feelings. But I would just as soon have them hold this well-intentioned phrase.

Why is “I appreciate you” bad grammar? After all, appreciate is a transitive verb, which means that it requires a direct object. Yet I’m afraid it’s simply incorrect usage.

Here are are some examples that work much better grammatically:

I appreciate your efforts. 

I appreciate the thought.

I appreciate your help on this project.  

“I appreciate you,” however, is nonsensical. It requires more specificity. You can appreciate a particular action that someone has taken, such as, “I appreciate your covering for me this morning.”

If you intend to express appreciation for someone as an individual, even then you can be more specific:

"I appreciate your positive attitude."  

And if you insist on expressing a more general statement of gratitude, you can instead say I value you, although that sounds a bit shmaltzy. But it would be an improvement in terms of grammar.

And hey, thanks for reading my post–I appreciate it.

2 responses to ““I Appreciate You”: A Sentimental and Misguided Phrase”

  1. Thank you for verifying my annoyance with this phrase. I am particular about grammar, and recognize that most people do not realize that it is simply an incorrect use of the English language. Another statement from the the pandemic is, “Stay Safe.” UGH!!!

  2. It sounds affected as hell. It grates. It’s so “precious”. When fake characters like Ted Lasso say it, it kind of fits the character. But when real people say it instead of “I appreciate it”, it doesn’t sound like they actually appreciate what I *did*. It sounds like the fake “self esteem” of “I deserve success”.

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