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The scoop behind ‘hopefully’

by on
in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

The Associated Press Style­­book has given its blessing to using the adverb hopefully, meaning “it is hoped.” The change is an update of the 2011 AP Style­­book, which included this entry for hopefully:

Hopefully: It means in a hopeful manner. Do not use it to mean it is hoped, let us hope or we hope.

Right: It is hoped that we will complete our work in June.

Right: We hope that we will complete our work in June.

Wrong as a way to express the thought in the previous two sentences: Hopefully, we will complete our work in June.

That “wrong” example is now perfectly fine, according to the AP Stylebook. This shift puts the AP in line with other widely used style guides, (Garner’s Modern American Usage, The Gregg Reference Manual, The Chicago Manual of Style, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and the Canadian Oxford Dictionary), but don’t expect universal enthusiasm for the move.

“This may not seem like a big deal, but to many linguistic sticklers it is the end of the world of correctness,” Lynn Gaertner-Johnston noted. And that’s why she doesn’t see herself adopting such usage anytime soon. “Because too many old-school grammarians will think I don’t know better.”

— Adapted from “‘Hopefully’ Gets Upgrade at AP,” Lynn Gaertner-Johnston.

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