Hopefully

“Hopefully” is an adverb. What is the role of an adverb? To say something more about a verb, or how something is done. Some examples:

  • Mr. Morales quickly drank the glass of English real ale (real ale means “cerveza de barril traditional”).
  • Mr. Rajoy carefully listened to Mrs. May´s speech about Brexit.

Easy? Yes. What about these sentences:

  • Hopefully, Julia will pass the Cambridge Advanced exam.
  • Hopefully, it will not rain today.

You are likely to have heard or seen such sentences. They are incorrect. Where is the verb that connects with “hopefully”? The verb cannot be “pass” as you cannot pass an exam “hopefully”, that is, in a hopeful manner. How can “rain” be done “hopefully”?

What people should say could be one of the following:

  • It is hoped that Julia passes the Cambridge Advanced exam.
  • I hope that Julia passes the Cambridge Advanced exam.
  • I hope it does not rain today.

Here are some more correct uses of hopefully:

  • He smiled at me hopefully (me dirigió una sonrisa esperanzada).
  • Mr. Morales looked hopefully around the airport for his luggage (…miró por el aeropuerto con esperanzas de ver su equipaje).

The incorrect usage of hopefully is an American influence, a country not known for good grammar.