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Difference between ‘ I Hope ‘ and ‘ I Wish ‘ – English Grammar lesson


The two expressions ‘I hope’ and ‘I wish’ are very commonly used in our daily conversations. There is a slight difference between these two expressions. In this lesson, you will learn how to use these expressions appropriately, depending on the situation.

I Hope

‘I Hope’ : is used when there is a good chance of something happening. It is not impossible nor hypothetical. So, there is ‘hope’ for something that we wish to happen, even though chances may be less.

Example : I hope this is the last mistake. (you say ‘hope’ because there is a chance of improvement).

This is the present tense.

Example : I hope Maria got home safely last night. (generally, we do not use ‘hope’ to talk about the past, unless you do not what exactly happened, so you just ‘hope’ she reached safely)

Example : I hope it stops raining. (probably, it’s raining now and you hope it would stop after two hours. Even though you hope for a action to take place in the future, do not use ‘will’. I hope it will stop raining – is incorrect)

 I Wish

‘I Wish’ : is used when we talk about unreal or hypothetical things. There is no possibility of such things happening. So, there is no ‘hope’, it is just wishful thinking. The verb used in this expression is always in the ‘past form’.

Example : I wish you were here with me. (though you wish it in the present, the verb ‘were’ is in the past form.)

Example : I wish you had told me the truth. (this is a past tense sentence. The time has gone by, you can’t go back in time and know the truth. So, to express that you wish something that happened in the past, use the past perfect tense – ‘had told’)

Example : I wish he would learn English. (you wish this happens in the future. Use ‘would’ followed by the verb in its ‘present’ form to express something that you wish to happen in the futre)

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