Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I encounter the phrase "I will appreciate your help" from time to time and it doesn't sound too honest to me. To be more specific, I don't have a problem with this phrase coming from a friend, because he will appreciate my help by "owing me one". But a stranger from the Internet, that's different, methinks.

"How will you appreciate it?" pops in my mind every time I see it, because to me, appreciation equals reward and, well, you can't reward people over the internet much. It is quite possible that I am just wrong and this is a perfectly fine figure of speech.

share|improve this question
1  
Appreciation does not necessarily mean tangible reward. An audience shows it's appreciation of a performance by applause - regardless of whether they paid an entrance fee. –  RedGrittyBrick Jan 25 '11 at 15:44
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Normally one would say

I would appreciate your help.

That is a softer, more polite way of asking. Use of the subjunctive mood indicates that nothing is assumed. It is a shorter way of saying "Should you be so kind as to give it to me, I would appreciate your help." [Edit: @As Eldros notes, to show appreciation for something is to be thankful for it. The example above could be paraphrased as "I would be in your debt if you would be willing to help me out."]

Using will instead of would seasons the sentence with a stronger flavor of expectation:

I will appreciate your help.

This is what you would say if you were fully expecting — perhaps even demanding — a person's help. It is something someone who has power over you might say, and is pretty strong. If the person is actually asking for a favor, this phrasing is very likely to offend the respondent.

share|improve this answer
4  
@Axarydax: In addition to what Robusto says, one must note that to appreciate doesn't mean that there will be a reward. In this context, it means to be grateful or thankful for. Of course, one could show one's gratitude by giving back, but not always. –  Eldroß Jan 25 '11 at 12:16
1  
@Eldros: Good point. With your permission, I'll make a tiny edit to include this point in the answer. –  Robusto Jan 25 '11 at 12:48
    
Be my guest. :) –  Eldroß Jan 25 '11 at 13:00
    
Is I would appreciate your help using the subjunctive mood? I thought that a sentence using the subjunctive mood would be I want you be in time, or if I were rich, I would live on Long Island. –  kiamlaluno Jan 26 '11 at 9:26
    
@kiamlaluno: The subjunctive mood in English is considered "a statement contrary to fact, a wish, a mandative statement." But you're right that the statement as given is actually a substitute for the subjunctive, not an actual subjunctive verb form. "[T]hose compound tenses, made up of the auxiliaries should, may, might, would with the infinitive, which now express ... indeterminate action usually expressed in Old English by the subjunctive forms." [Fowler] I was actually thinking of the implied usage in the third sentence in that paragraph. –  Robusto Jan 26 '11 at 11:31
add comment

protected by RegDwigнt May 31 '12 at 20:09

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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