Take for Granted - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to tell someone they should be grateful for what they have? If so, you could say to them that they take things “for granted.” This post unpacks the meaning and origin of the expression.


The expression “take for granted” means that you previously paid no regard or gratitude to something critically important in your life. It means to dramatically underestimate the value of someone or something, and it applies to the first and second person.

For instance, you could admit that you take things for granted or tell someone that they take something for granted. It may also mean to believe in a statement as truthful without researching it to see if it is a fact or fake news.

Example Usage

When using “take for granted,” it’s common for people to restructure the idiom to fit the sentence and meaning of what they are trying to communicate.

“Everyone always tells us how great the weather is here when they arrive. We live here, so we take the weather for granted.”

“We live in the richest country in the world. From the way the population chooses to squander theirs, it’s clear we take that for granted.”

“I used to take my girlfriend for granted until she decided to walk out the door and never return. Now, I wish I did more for her when we were together.”

“I feel like this company takes me for granted. I brought in over $11-million in sales last year, and I didn’t even get a bonus.

“When I moved overseas, and my social life went in the gutter, I realized I take my friends back home for granted.”


Language experts are unclear about the origin of the saying, “take for granted.” However, if we look at the components of the phrase, we see that the word “grant” originates from the term “grant.” “Grant” means to “acknowledge,” and its first use was in the 14th century.

Experts believe that the earliest use of the phrase appears in the 16th century. At the time, the expression “Taking for granted” meant expressing blind faith in an ideology or religion. By the early to mid-16th century, the saying appeared in several texts.

Towards the latter half of the 16th century, the saying took on its more modern meaning of an adverse connotation. The meaning shifted to describing someone making a judgment without using critical thinking skills to define to process.

By the 20th century, people started using the expression to describe underappreciation toward people and ideologies.

Phrases Similar to Take for Granted

  • Comfortably unaware.
  • Blissfully ignorant.
  • Blinkers on.

Phrases Opposite to Take for Granted

  • To value something immensely.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Take for granted
  • For granted.
  • Taken for granted.

Ways People May Say Take for Granted Incorrectly

In most scenarios, people will use the phrase to remind themselves of their good fortune or luck in life. Using the expression to describe the willing action of taking something for granted, as in, “I don’t care that I take my life for granted,” would be the incorrect use of the phrase.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Take for Granted

You can use the phrase “take for granted” when trying to tell other people that they need to appreciate what they have in life. You can use it when discussing your attitude to being grateful for your circumstances.

The phrase suits professional and social use. You could use it at home when telling your kids that they shouldn’t take their education for granted and buckle down on their studies. Or you could use it to remind yourself that you are one of the lucky members of the middle class and living in a prosperous country. Or, your boss could use it at work to remind you that you are fortunate to have a job.

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