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Posted on October 10, 2011

There is a distressing tendency (there are many such tendencies, but this one distresses me muchly) to use the word ‘hopefully’ into a sentence, meaning ‘it is to be hoped’. For instance, ‘Hopefully, we will arrive by six tonight’. What that sentence actually says is, ‘We will arrive by six tonight, in a hopeful manner’.

Hopefully is an ADVERB; this is a word that describes an action, that is offers a description of the action implied by the verb. Adverbs usually (but no exclusively) end ‘-ly’; their first part is usually an adjective. Thus ‘hopefully’ is derived from the adjective ‘hopeful’ The suffix ‘-ly’ means ‘in the manner of being’, and the meaning of the word as a whole is ‘in the manner of being hopeful’ or ‘in a hopeful manner’.

Language changes all the time, and English is especially plastic, but

Tags: Misuse of 'hopefully'