Word of the Day: hopefully

Today’s word is the first in a special WOTD series I’ve decided to call Objectionable Words. The word hopefully is an adverb formed from the adjective hopeful. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the word hopefully, at least nowadays. The dictionary informs us that while the word used to be objectionable to usage purists (and let us not deny that it still is), apparently these days it’s considered an acceptable sentence modifier.

But I just don’t like it, okay? It’s one of those words that debases the English language. It’s basically a lazy way of saying, “I’m hopeful that…” or “I hope…”

Examples:

Hopefully the weather will clear up later on today.

Versus:

I hope the weather clears up later on today.

More Boring Grammar Stuff

Hope is a noun; it’s an emotion, like happiness. It can be formed into an adverb by adding adjective-forming suffix “ful” and then the adverb-forming suffix “ly.” However, the noun-forming “ness” suffix does not allow the word happiness to be further formed into an adverb. This is one of the annoying inconsistencies with English grammar. “Happinessly” is not a word, although happily most certainly is.

More on that later…