Facial expression recognition can be widely used for various applications, such as emotion-based human-machine interaction, intelligent robot interfaces, face recognition robust to expression variation, etc. Previous studies have been classified as either shape- or appearance-based recognition. The shape-based method has the disadvantage that the individual variance of facial feature points exists irrespective of similar expressions, which can cause a reduction of the recognition accuracy. The appearance-based method has a limitation in that the textural information of the face is very sensitive to variations in illumination. To overcome these problems, a new facial-expression recognition method is proposed, which combines both shape and appearance information, based on the support vector machine (SVM). This research is novel in the following three ways as compared to previous works. First, the facial feature points are automatically detected by using an active appearance model. From these, the shape-based recognition is performed by using the ratios between the facial feature points based on the facial-action coding system. Second, the SVM, which is trained to recognize the same and different expression classes, is proposed to combine two matching scores obtained from the shape- and appearance-based recognitions. Finally, a single SVM is trained to discriminate four different expressions, such as neutral, a smile, anger, and a scream. By determining the expression of the input facial image whose SVM output is at a minimum, the accuracy of the expression recognition is much enhanced. The experimental results showed that the recognition accuracy of the proposed method was better than previous researches and other fusion methods.