I just purchased my tickets to travel to NYC for a few days over Spring Break. I’ll engage in some alumni and development work, attend a rehearsal of the choir that is premiering in April my latest choral work, finish some research, catch a show, and take in the Showcase by Webster Conservatory students.
This is post number 2750, a milestone post by any mundane accounting method. I enjoy the writing and intend to continue for as long as blogs endure and I feel the urge.
Today’s blog is a bit of a rant. Dr. Dan Politoske, 17 years ago my music history prof at Kansas, helped me understand that the adverb ‘hopefully‘ is just that, an adverb, and that the word is used incorrectly in much of the realms of our Sovereign Lady The Queen Elizabeth, as well as the United States.
(This is the same Dr. Politoske who would urge us to fondle books in the music library!)
When one says “I’m hopefully going to have one soon,” what one is actually saying is “I’m going to have one soon, in a hopeful manner.” The correct phrase would be “I hope to have one soon,” a sentence this both more clear and more economical.
‘Hopefully’ modifies the verb; ‘hope’ is a verb itself, and is the active word in the sentence.
I know this may seem like nit-picking, but I do believe that language matters, that clarity counts, and that communication is often left incomplete and unsettled when we choose our words poorly. I strive, in both speaking and writing, to be clear & correct and as casual as the situation allows. One could argue that ‘hopefully’ has entered standard usage; in fact, many dictionaries and linguistic scholars assert just that, since the inexact use of ‘hopefully’ has existed since the 1830’s.
As for me, I shall remain a bit of an obscurantist, a bit of curmudgeon, and a bit of an idealist, and use ‘hopefully’ only when modifying the verb.
I hope thereby to change the world. I will go about hopefully and joyfully doing so.