Hopefully I’m saying this correctly

For years I’ve suffered from an irrational fear of hopefully. I don’t want to be called out by my stricter grammar-nazi friends for using it to mean “if all goes well,” as opposed to “in a hopeful manner.”

Merriam-Webster says

1:  in a hopeful manner
2:  it is hoped

In the 1960s the second sense of hopefully, which dates to the early 18th century and had been in fairly widespread use since at least the 1930s, underwent a surge in popularity. A surge of criticism followed in reaction, but the criticism took no account of the grammar of adverbs. Hopefully in its second sense is a member of a class of adverbs known as disjuncts. Disjuncts serve as a means by which the author or speaker can comment directly to the reader or hearer usually on the content of the sentence to which they are attached. Many other adverbs (as interestingly, frankly, clearly, luckily, unfortunately) are similarly used; most are so ordinary as to excite no comment or interest whatsoever. The second sense of hopefully is entirely standard.

And Dictionary.com says

Although some strongly object to its use as a sentence modifier, hopefully  meaning “it is hoped (that)” has been in use since the1930s and is fully standard in all varieties of speech and writing: Hopefully, tensions between the two nations will ease.  This use of hopefully is parallel to that of certainly, curiously, frankly,regrettably, and other sentence modifiers.

So there. Hopefully you can get over yourself.

Published by Brian

Grappling sometimes, but mostly just trying to get others to grapple.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply