How to Say “I Love You” in Sign Language

Expressing love through sign language can be a beautiful and meaningful gesture. Whether you want to convey your affection to a deaf or hard-of-hearing loved one or simply expand your communication skills, learning how to say “I love you” in sign language can create a powerful connection. In this guide, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways to express this sentiment, and provide tips, examples, and regional variations when necessary.

Formal Ways to Say “I Love You” in Sign Language

When it comes to formal sign language, it’s important to follow standard rules and etiquette to express yourself accurately and respectfully. Here are a few formal ways to say “I love you” in sign language:

1. American Sign Language (ASL)

In American Sign Language, the sign for “I love you” involves crossing your arms over your chest:

ASL: This sign is made by extending your thumb, index finger, and little finger while keeping your middle and ring fingers down. Then cross your arms over your chest with your palm facing inward, and extend your fingers outwards.

2. British Sign Language (BSL)

British Sign Language has its own unique way of expressing “I love you.” Here’s how you can sign it:

BSL: Start by pointing your index finger towards your forehead, then extend your thumb and little finger while keeping your other fingers folded. This forms a rough “I,” “L,” and “Y” handshape, which represents “I love you.”

Informal Ways to Say “I Love You” in Sign Language

Informal sign language often varies among different communities and individuals. It typically tends to focus on conveying feelings rather than adhering strictly to formal rules. Here are a few informal ways to say “I love you” using sign language:

1. “Hug” Sign

If you want to show affection using sign language more informally, you can use the “hug” sign. This sign imitates a hug and can signify love and warmth:

Hug Sign: Cross your arms over your chest, but instead of extending your fingers outwards like in the formal ASL sign, keep your hands in loose fists. This gesture represents a loving and warm embrace.

2. Combined Signs

Informal sign language often allows for combining signs to create personalized expressions. Here’s an example of combining signs to say “I love you”:

Combined Signs: Start with the ASL sign for “I,” then move into the sign for “love” by crossing your arms over your chest, and finally transition into the sign for “you” by pointing your index finger towards the person you are speaking to. This flowing combination expresses affection and love.

Tips for Mastering Sign Language

To effectively communicate your love through sign language, consider the following tips:

1. Practice Regularly

Consistency is key when learning sign language. Devote regular practice sessions to improve your skills and fluency.

2. Study Facial Expressions

In sign language, facial expressions play a vital role in conveying emotions. Pay attention to the specific facial expressions associated with different signs, as they can enhance your message.

3. Seek Professional Guidance

Consider attending sign language classes or seeking guidance from qualified tutors or instructors. They can provide valuable feedback and ensure you learn proper techniques.


Learning how to say “I love you” in sign language allows you to build connections with deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals while embracing the beauty of non-verbal communication. Whether you opt for formal expressions like American Sign Language (ASL) or British Sign Language (BSL), or prefer informal gestures such as the “hug” sign or combining signs, remember to practice regularly and incorporate facial expressions to effectively convey your feelings. With dedication and compassion, sign language can become a powerful tool to express love and affection from the heart.

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Written by Alexandra Julia

Hello, I'm Alexandra. When I'm not on a quest to add new words to my sign language lexicon, I'm usually wrapped up in a captivating book or exploring dog parks with my pet Dolly - yes, I can teach you how to say her name in American Sign Language (ASL)! I take great delight in translating the world into gestures. Sign Language is my forte and passion, allowing me to create endless dialogue in silence. From conveying how to say 'Batman' to expressing 'I love dogs' in ASL - I'm your girl! Remember, language isn't a barrier, but a bridge!

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