'Approve Something' or 'Approve of Something'? What Is the Difference? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 7 June 2024)

'Approve Something' or 'Approve of Something'?

Approve Something or Approve of Something: What Is the Difference?

Approve something means 'to accept or allow something officially'. This is something done by a person or group of people in a position of authority:

The Legislative Council has approved this year's budget package.

We are still waiting for the principal to approve our proposal.

In contrast, approve of something means 'to have a positive opinion of something':

Everyone thinks she is old-fashioned because she does not approve of tattoos.

We do not approve of smoking in public places.

'Approve something' means 'to accept or allow something officially'. 'Approve of something' means 'to have a positive opinion of something'.

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Examples from the Media

The UK medicines regulator (MHRA) approved the so-called bivalent vaccine made by US drug company Moderna as a booster for adults. South China Morning Post (2022) 

Affidavits are detailed documents about an investigation that law enforcement officers submit to judges in hopes that they will approve their applications for search warrants. The Washington Post (2022)

The province-wide Forum Research Inc. survey found that while the Liberals' support is resilient and about one third of respondents back the party, just 20 per cent of Ontarians approve of the job Wynne is doing as premier, and 64 per cent disapprove. Toronto Star (2016)

Ardern told AM she did not approve of the tactics they had seen from the protesters. —Otago Daily Times (2022)


Complete each sentence with either approve or approve of.

1. Do you approve/approve of children wearing make-up? (= Do you think it is right for children to wear make-up?)

2. The Department of Health has approved/approved of the use of a new drug for lung cancer. (= The Department of Health has officially allowed the use of a new drug for lung cancer.)

3. Do your parents approve/approve of plastic surgery? (= Do your parents think that plastic surgery is good?)

4. We do not approve/approve of violence. (= We think that violence is bad.)

5. Congress did not approve/approve of the budget. (= Congress did not accept the budget.)

Answer Key

1. approve of    2. approved    3. approve of    4. approve of    5. approve

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