Hopefully People Will Stop Complaining

Some people can’t get over the word “hopefully.”

They want it to only mean, “in a hopeful manner,” and not to mean, “I am hopeful that”.

Thus, the following paragraph from here:

Everyone uses “hopefully” as a shortcut for “I hope.” It is not. Yes, the dictionary allows it, but that’s just bending to popular usage. In my book, there is only one correct use for “hopefully.” It’s a synonym for “prayerfully”—as in, “She looked up hopefully and said, ‘Dear Lord, please make it rain soon, or we’ll have no harvest.'” Do you want to say “I hope”? Then say “I hope.”

The dictionary bends to popular usage. Well, most English-speakers use the word that way, so I guess the dictionary really should bend by now.

And guess what, the dictionary has a way to include a word, while saying that it’s nonstandard. In this case, the dictionary “allows it,” by saying that it’s the common usage.

I wonder whether we’re allowed to say, “thankfully” to mean, “I am thankful that,” or if it has to mean, “in a thankful manner.”

Do we have to say, “I was wonderful when I watched the movie.” Full of wonder?

4 Responses to Hopefully People Will Stop Complaining

  1. BruceS July 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    I’m waiting to see how long it takes for the dictionary to “bend” to accept “literally” to mean “figuratively”. It seems to me that more people use it that way than use it correctly. Also, how long until the various “infinite” words all get redefined to mean “really big”?
    “It took absolutely forever to get through the line today. I literally died waiting.”

  2. Robert S. Siegel July 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm #

    I make that mistake all the time, particularly in writing and I know I am wrong. Hopefully I will correct that error in my usage.

  3. weeklyrob July 26, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    Well, my point is that it’s not an error! (Yeah, I know you’re joking.)

  4. BruceS July 28, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    …unless Robert meant the literal/figurative or finite/infinite bits, which are still mistakes. I’m guessing not, though, as he uses the other.

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