#305: Discover Effective Ways to Talk about Hope in English

Mar 6, 2024 | Grammar, Verb Tenses

I hope. 

I hope you have a good day.

I hope we get some good weather this weekend.

I hope I can spend some abroad this year.


Using the word ‘hope’ in English seems so simple, right?

Here’s the thing. The word hope can do MUCH MORE than simply highlight what you anticipate or want in the future. 

It also highlights expectations you had — expectations of past events. Or expectations you had of people.

It can reflect on past desires you had as well. 

On top of all that, you can use the word hope to express kind wishes for others, even strangers (like the cashier you briefly chatted with at the grocery store). 

And ponder the possibilities of the present.

The word ‘hope’ unlocks your ability to do all of that.

But here’s the twist: using ‘hope’ correctly involves more than just the word itself; it’s about mastering the time tenses that give your sentences life and meaning. 

Whether you’re here to brush up on your English grammar skills or you’re an advanced English speaker aiming for fluency, understanding how to use ‘hope’ with precision across different tenses is a game-changer.

In today’s video, we’re diving deep into the heart of English tenses—past, present, and future—highlighting how ‘hope’ evolves with each. 

From ‘I hoped for a better outcome’ to ‘I hope you’ll join us,’ and even ‘I will hope for the best,’ we’ll explore, through examples and easy-to-follow explanations, how you can express your hopes beautifully and accurately in any situation.


How to Talk about Hope in English | Present, Past, and Future

Use #1: Your Present Hopes

Sharing present hopes may be the most familiar to you. 

When talking about hopes we have for the present, we can use the simple present or the present continuous to express ourselves

  • Ex. We couldn’t find the exact wallpaper you were looking for, so we bought a few other options to show you. I hope it’s okay. 
  • Ex. There is a delay with the delivery. We know you’ve been waiting for your order and that this is disappointing, so we’ve provided a 10% refund and reimbursed the cost of shipping. We hope that’s okay with you.
  • Ex. I’m so sorry to hear you were sick this week. I hope you’re feeling better now.
  • Ex. I hope your trip is going well.

Use #2: Your Future Hopes

In switching to a future-focused time tense, you can use hope to 

  • Highlight a wish or desire for something to happen in the future 
    • I hope to travel abroad this summer. 
    • I hope I will travel abroad this summer. 
    • I hope Maya comes to the party tomorrow. 
    • I hope Maya will come to the party tomorrow. 
  • Use hope with a modal verb for Polite Requests or Future Possibilities
    • I hope you can come to our backyard BBQ this weekend.
    • I hope we might see each other again soon. 

Before we move on to Past Hopes, let’s look at 3 sentences we can use to express the same future hope with

  • Time words
  • Infinitive form
  • Can

Let’s take a look at the following sentences:

  • Ex. I hope Maya comes to the party tomorrow. 
    • In this example, ‘tomorrow’ is the time word that ties this hope to the future. 
  • Ex. I hope to see Maya at the party. 
    • By using the ‘to’ and the infinitive immediately after ‘hope’, I imply that this hope is for a future action. 
  • Ex. I hope Maya can come to the party. 
    • The addition of can implies the hope for an action or event to occur in the future. 

Use #3: Your Past Hopes/Hopes for the Past

There are three ways to do this:

  • To hope for a specific result about a completed action/event (in other words, something has already happened — the action is complete — but you don’t know the outcome yet)
  • To share a past hope that wasn’t fulfilled in the present (in other words, you had a hope/expectation for something but it didn’t happen)
  • To share a hope you had for the future in the past or a hope that started in the past and is still relevant up to now


If you don’t know and hope for a specific outcome for something that happened in the past, you could say:

  • Ex. I hope my daughter passed her board exams. 
    • Ex. Annie hopes her husband has found the car keys because she can’t find them in the house. 
      • Note, in both examples ‘hope’ remains in its present form but the action you need to happen in the past is in the simple past or present perfect.

    When you want to express that a hope or expectation you had in the past wasn’t fulfilled in the present, you could say:

    • Ex. I hoped I’d see Sarah at the meeting today. Maybe next time.
      • Note: The understanding is she wasn’t there.
    • Ex. The government had hoped the public would forget about the recent scandal.
      • Note: The understanding is the public didn’t forget.

    Lastly, we can express that we hoped for a specific future at some point in the past. 

    • Ex. Our parents always hoped my sister or I would attend an Ivy League university. 
      • This doesn’t explicitly or directly tell us whether she went to an Ivy League university or not. It hints that perhaps it didn’t happen but we don’t really know; the focus is that at some point in the past, the parents had this hope.
    • Ex. After I did my interview, I hoped they would call me the next day. I really wanted this job!
      • Again, this doesn’t tell us whether she got the call or not. Instead, it helps to tell the story of this hope existing in the past, after an interview.

    Time to Practice

    Use your knowledge of hopes to share your thoughts on the following:

    1. Your friend has an important job interview tomorrow. What do you hope will happen in the interview tomorrow?
    2. Your best friend is helping you plan an anniversary party for another friend. You’ve been waiting for her to arrive, and you’re eager to show her the decorations you’ve put up so far. What would you say when you see her?
    3. Imagine you missed a flight. When you found out you missed your flight, what might you have hoped would be different?

    Share your thoughts and questions with me below.

    ~ Annemarie

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