English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I love you for who you are.

I came across the line from a BBC Radio’s drama, and wondered what’s the difference from saying “I love you as you are,” or “I love you for what you are.” Would you explain the three of them?

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by Carlo_R., MετάEd, Robusto, FumbleFingers, tchrist Jan 19 '13 at 19:40

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I love you for who you are = My devotion is inspired by your personality (or, possibly, by your influential family connections).

I love you as you are = You’re perfect in my eyes and I don’t want you to change.

I love you for what you are = I admire above all your noble and endearing qualities.

share|improve this answer
Between monsters the last expression might mean "I admire above all your brutish and nasty qualities." – MετάEd Jan 20 '13 at 0:13

There is a common expression:

"I love you for what you are, not who you are."

This always seems to be said to someone who is either famous or powerful in their own right or from an influential family so "what you are" is about the person's own qualities such as their warm personality, kindness, ability to fill others' needs, etc.

To love someone "as you are" brings to mind the disclaimer used with discount merchandise - "sold as-is", meaning with all its inherent value and (any) hidden defects. ;-)

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.