Hope vs. Wish

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Wish is most commonly used in hypothetical (or imagined) situations:

    I wish that I had a dog. (I don't really have a dog, but if I did, I would be happy.)

    I wish (that) you were here. (Unfortunately, you're not, and I miss you.)

Sometimes wish is used in greeting and expressions of goodwill:

    We wish you a "Merry Christmas."

    They wished him "Happy Birthday."

    Wish me luck.

    (S V IO DO)

Hope can also be used in expressions of goodwill, but the grammar is slightly different:

    I hope (that) you have a Merry Christmas.

    I hope (that) you had a nice Birthday.

    (some time in the future)

    (some time in the past)

Hope can be used to specify a desired outcome. For future hopes, the possibilities remain open, but for past hopes, the outcome has usually been determined already.

    I hope you can come to the party on Saturday.

    I was hoping that you would come to the party.

    I had hoped to see you at the party on Saturday.

    I hope to get an A on the exam.

    I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow.

    He hopes to be elected President.

    She hoped you wouldn't find her.

    (future possibility)

    (but you didn't make it)

    (but I didn't)

    (it is still possible)

    (although it might)

    (it could happen)

    (but you probably did)

Wish and hope are also used in certain types of requests and pleasantries. In such situations, wish carries a more definite and formal tone.

    I wish to see the doctor.

    I hope to see you again.

    (right now)

    (anytime in the future)

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Last updated: 15 February, 2010 02:43:16