Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Hopefully And I hope so

What is the difference between ‘hopefully’ and ‘I hope’? Both of these expressions contain the word ‘hope’. This is a word that English speakers often add to statements showing they want or believe something particular will happen or be true. However, there is a difference between ‘hopefully’ and ‘I hope’, and it is one that still is being debated among those that dictate proper English usage.

‘Hopefully’ is an adverb, so it modifies a verb. It means in a hopeful manner. To be hopeful means to be full of hope, or showing and feeling a sense of hope. For example: The dog stared out of the window hopefully all day long. In another sense, ‘hopefully’ can mean that something is hoped for in a general way. For example: Hopefully, we will get there soon.

This usage of ‘hopefully’ has recently become more popular in the 20th century in modern English. Used in this way, it is a type of adverb called a disjunct. A disjunct adverb is separate, yet related, to the thought being expressed and allows the speaker or writer to comment on what they are saying or writing.  Other examples include the following adverbs: interestingly, frankly, clearly and fortunately.  It is in this unique usage that ‘hopefully’ means a feeling similar to ‘I hope’. Some language experts have criticized this usage, but according to authorities on the English language, such as Merriam Webster, it is a correct and standard usage of ‘hopefully’. However, it is good to keep in mind that some grammarians still find this usage uncomfortable, especially in formal or written English.

‘Hope’ is a verb that expresses a feeling. It means to want something to happen or to be true or to think that it could happen or be true. ‘Hope’ as a verb shows the action of feeling a desire or expectation. For example: I hope for a raise this year. The pronoun ‘I’ is used to show that the person speaking or writing feels this way in the present time. For example: I hope it does not rain.  It can also have the meaning of having confidence or trusting something will happen. For example: I hope in the fact that I know he will be here.  ‘I hope’ when used as an expression like this and attached to a statement one wants to believe is going to happen or is true can be used synonymously with ‘hopefully’. For example: Hopefully the train is not late. I hope the train is not late. However, ‘I hope’ has a slight meaning of a more definite desire by the speaker or writer, rather than a general idea of things being left to fate or circumstance.

‘I hope so’ is a common informal expression that is related to ‘I hope’. It implies that the person has a positive expectation of something. It is usually given as an answer to a question about whether or not something will happen. For example: Do you think she will win the race? I hope so. It can also be used to mean that someone has a strong desire that something happens. For example: Do you think he will show up? I hope so! Some speakers will substitute ‘hopefully’ for this expression as an answer in informal conversational English. In this case, the meaning is the same as ‘I hope so.’


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