Are you hoping or hopeful?

August 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Grammar, Mini-Lessons

Being hopeful is a good thing.  It is always better to see the glass half full than half empty.  Overusing the word hopefully, on the other hand,  is not such a good thing.

Hope vs. Hopefully  kevindooley on flckr

The word hopefully is an adverb.  An adverb is a word that describes a verb, so hopefully is a word that describes how something is done. Polly Pocket skipped hopefully down the grassy path means that Polly Pocket skipped in a hopeful manner down the path; it describes the way in which she skipped. It’s an active process; in other words, it’s something that we can control.

The adverb hopefully, then, should not be used synonymously with the phrase I hope since hope means a wish or a desire.  Hopefully, he will win the race is incorrect.  I hope he wins the race is the correct way to phrase that.  When we hope, the outcome is out of our control. In other words, it’s a very passive act, and using hopefully for I hope is a grammar error.  And why would we want to be passive and incorrect at the same time?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with hoping; however, we always have more success when we actively pursue things than we do when we wish for the best.  So GG’s advice is to be active and decide to use these words correctly.  🙂

  • Winsor Pilates

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