It’s time for another installment of hard words to spell in English! This time, we will be examining how to spell grateful (vs. greatful) — one of those extremely common, deceptively “easy” words that even 41-year old English teachers like me mess up all the time.
Here’s the good news: like the “in case or incase” and “every time or everytime” tricky spelling dilemmas that we previously discussed, there is only one word in the grateful vs. greatful pair that’s correct — the other arrangement of letters simply doesn’t exist as a real word. But which is it? Check my drawing, below, out for the answer…
Spell Grateful Correctly
As my illustration above explains, “greatful” (starting with “great”) is definitely NOT a word. It has no meaning, and doesn’t exist — and neither does “greatfull” with two “Ls.” In contrast, the word “grateful” (starting with “grate”) IS the correct spelling. (Similarly, the common misspellings of the other words, “seperately” and “irrevelant” don’t exist.)
Here’s how to remember the spelling of gratefully: Think of being full of GRATITUDE, which starts with “grat.” (The word “grateful” is from the Latin word “gratus” — not from the idea of feeling “great” about something, though it may be tempting to think of it that way.)
If you use this “full of gratitude” trick, just be careful not to overly embrace the word “full,” because there’s only one “L” at the end of grateful. “Gratefull” is not the correct spelling, so lose the second “L.” Also, don’t forget the “e” in the middle, since “gratful” and “gratfull” aren’t right either!
Below is a funny cartoon I drew to give another way to remember how you spell grateful… Think of a beloved metal grate. (This cracks me up because I’m not sure anyone has ever been grateful for a boring old grate — but perhaps we should be, since heating and air conditioning come through them!)
Synonyms for Grateful, Plus Uses
Looking for another word for grateful, in case you forgot how to spell it and want to work around it? The best “grateful” synonyms are: “thankful” and “appreciative.”
Now here’s a wonderful fact to go with this word: in real life, having an “attitude of gratitude” — taking the time to notice, say, and appreciate what you’re grateful for — has been scientifically proven to make you healthier and happier! Try it today and see if it works.
VIDEO: Grateful vs. Greatful
How Spell Grateful, in Sum
I hope this lesson on how to spell grateful (vs. greatful or gratefull — which aren’t real words at all) has been helpful! Want more spelling lessons? Check out “Whose vs. Who’s,” “How to Spell Column,” Desert vs. Dessert,” “Spell No One,” and “Apart vs. A Part.”
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English who has been a public school educator since 2003, and an experienced Reiki practitioner since 2018. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other two sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009) and TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010). Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!