the difference between words: happy and glad

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Over the holiday I’ve been trying to think of more entries I can write for “the difference between words” category. The one I thought of for today is the difference between “happy” and “glad”. I had to think about this one very hard, but I finally realized the difference between these two words.

The first thing you should know about these two words is that “happy” indicates a stronger feeling than “glad”.

In addition, generally speaking, we use the word “happy” when talking about something that personally gives us joy. We use the word “glad” when we want to say that another person’s good fortune makes us feel good. For example:

I got a high score on my test! I’m so happy!

I’m really happy because my boyfriend finally asked me to marry him!

I’m so glad you had a good time at my party last night.

I’m really glad that your husband is doing well at his job.

However, we can also use “glad” to talk about a situation that affects us directly, but the feeling is less strong than if we say “happy”. For example:

I’m really glad the weather is good for our barbeque today.

I’m glad that you will be able to come to my party.

We can also use “happy” when talking about things that only affect other people but, in these cases, we usually have a close relationship with them because the word “happy” is quite strong. For example:

I’m so happy that your father is going to recover from his illness! Say hello to him for me.

I’m really happy for my friend Bill! He just got a big promotion at work! He really deserves it!


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