Wish vs Hope
Many ESL students find it difficult to decipher the differences between hope and wish. Although these words are similar, they are used in slightly different situations. Misuse of these words can leave the student sounding awkward and unnatural.
Today’s 10 minute lesson will look at different situations in which hope and wish could be used. Our goal is for you to understand the differences and be able to use these words correctly in the future.
I wish that I had a dog. (I don’t have a dog, but I would like to have one.)
I wish (that) you were here. (Unfortunately, you’re not, and I miss you.)
What do you wish you could change about the world?
Sometimes wish is used in greeting and expressions of goodwill:
We wish you a “Merry Christmas.”
They wished him “Happy Birthday.”
Wish me luck!
We can also use wish to express something that we would like to change or that we would like to see changed.
I wish that you would clean your room more.
I wish that you would work less.
I wish that she were friendlier.
Hope can also be used in expressions of goodwill, but the grammar is slightly different:
I hope (that) you have a Merry Christmas. (future)
I hope (that) you had a nice Birthday. (past)
Can you use hope in a sentence to express goodwill?
Hope can be used to specify a desired outcome. For future hopes, the possibilities remain open, but for past hopes, the outcome has usually been determined already.
I hope you can come to the party on Saturday. (future possibility)
I was hoping that you would come to the party. (but you didn’t make it)
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. (it is still possible)
I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. (although it might)
He hopes to be elected President. (it’s possible that he will be elected)
She hoped you wouldn’t find her. (but you did)
Wish and hope are also used in certain types of requests and pleasantries. In such situations, wish carries a more definite and formal tone.
Wish is used for things we want in the present moment. Hope is used for things we want in the future.
I wish to see the doctor. (Right now)
I hope to see you again. (In the future)
I wish to speak to your manager (Here wish acts like a command)
I hope to speak to your manager. (This implies that you would like to speak to the manager, but you understand that it might not be possible).
I wish I were thinner. (This means that I am not thin now, but I want to be thin now.)
I hope to be thinner. (This means that I am not as thin as I want to be, but I want to be thinner in the future.)
Notice the grammar in these sentences:
I wish I were …..
I hope to be …..
She wishes she were….
She hopes to be….
Time to practice
Fix the mistakes below. Some sentences might not need to be corrected:
I wish I speak good English.
I hope I am a manager.
I wish I am richer.
I hope to be more successful someday.
I wish you have a happy birthday!
Fill in the blank with the correct form of hope or wish.
Mary _____ she had a better job.
Jim ____ to be a professional athlete someday.
I _____ I were a better English student.
They ____ her a Merry Christmas.
We _____ that we would see her at the party.
I _____ it could have been different between us
The dog ________ that someone could play with him all day.
Bill _____to make it to the party this weekend.
Send your answers to me.
Note: I have adapted this grammar lesson from lesson plans I use with my students live online. Classes are 50 minutes long and can be done 1-1 or in small groups. For more information please visit my website www.monumentenglish.com