To WISH vs. To HOPE.

WISH and HOPE are two very similar verbs and are generally used to talk about something that we would like to be or to have, or that we would like to happen in the future. HOPE can also be used to talk about something that we would have liked (in the past) to have happened, but which didn’t happen.

  1. WISH is normally used for hypothetical (imaginary) situations. Note: ‘Wish’ is put into the Present Tense, whilst the second verb is in the Past.
    • I wish that I had a dog. (I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I would be happy.)
    • I wish (that) you were here. (I’m sad that you’re not here.)

  2. WISH is also used to send greetings for a pleasant or festive occasion in the near future.
    • We wish you a Merry Christmas
    • They wished him Happy Birthday

  3. HOPE is used in much the same way to talk about something that you would like to be or to have in the future, but the grammar is slightly different:
    • Form: Present Simple: I hope that I have a really good holiday this year.

  4. HOPE can also be used to express disappointment that something didn’t happen in the past:
    • Form: Past Continuous: I was hoping to go to Florida this summer. (But I didn’t go)
    • Form: Past Perfect: I had hoped to be Manager this year. (But it didn’t happen)

    More examples:

    • I hope you can come to the party on Saturday. (I would like you to come.)
    • I was hoping that you would come to the party. (But sadly you didn’t come.)
    • I had hoped to see you at the party on Saturday. (But I didn’t see you.)
    • I hope to get an A on the exam. (I really want to get an A.)
    • I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. (Although it might rain.)
    • She had hoped you wouldn’t find her. (But unfortunately for her, you did find her.)

  5. The last use of WISH and HOPE is to make a request, or talk about a desire of some sort:
    Here, WISH is formal and HOPE is informal.
    • I wish to see a doctor. (Meaning, I want to see a doctor right now.)
    • I hope we see each other again soon. (I would like us to meet again sometime in the near future.)


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