Wish vs. Hope
Wish is most commonly used in hypothetical (or imagined) situations:
I wish that I had a dog. (I don't really have a dog, but if I did, I would
I wish (that) you were here. (Unfortunately, you're not, and I miss you.)
Sometimes wish is used in greeting and expressions of goodwill:
We wish you a "Merry Christmas."
They wished him "Happy Birthday."
Wish me luck. (S V IO DO)
Hope can also be used in expressions of goodwill, but the grammar is slightly
I hope (that) you have a Merry Christmas. (some time in the future)
I hope (that) you had a nice Birthday. (some time in the past)
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.
I was hoping that you would come to the party.
I had hoped to see you at the party on Saturday.
I hope to get an A on the exam.
I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow.
He hopes to be elected President.
She hoped you wouldn't find her.
(but you didn't make it)
(but I didn't)
(it is still possible)
(although it might)
(it could happen)
(but you probably did)
Wish and hope are also used in certain types of requests and
pleasantries. In such situations, wish carries a more definite and formal
I wish to see the doctor. (right now)
I hope to see you again. (anytime in the future)
Past wishes indicate things we imagine would have been different in the past, although we cannot change them. For past
wishes, use the past perfect in the that clause.
I wish (that) I had gone to Cincinnati
He wishes that he had been elected chairman.
They wish they had won the lottery.
(I really didn't go.)
(He wasn't elected.)
(They didn't win.)
Past wishes can be used to for reference with Grammar: Past Conditionals.
Wish vs. Hope
Quiz 1: Hope vs. Wish
Read the sentences carefully and choose the verb that is consistent with the time frame of the main verb and
the implied meaning of the sentence. Remember that we hope for things that are possible; we wish for things
that are impossible, unlikely, or unreal in the present or past. We signal this with past verb tenses (simple
past for present or future improbabilities and past perfect for past improbabilities). The subjunctive form
WERE is used with all personal pronoun subjects. (Example: I wish HE WERE well.)
1. Lauren is anxious to drive. She hopes she * her driver's test
soon. (1 point)
2. Lauren didn't use her turn signal during her driver's test and failed
it. She wishes she * to signal her turns. (1 point)
3. Most people fear cancer and hope that scientists * a cure in the near
future. (1 point)
4. My friend left for the Netherlands today. I wish I * with
him. (1 point)
5. Steven is a young five-year-old boy. He's flying to New York alone to
visit his grandparents. His parents hope he * there safely. (1 point)
Wish vs. Hope
6. The price of gasoline has gone up. Consumers are hoping that the price
* soon. (1 point)
had come down
will come down
7. Pollution is a serious threat to human health, and many people wish
that commuters * hybrid cars. (1 point)
8. John has to drive fifty miles to get to his new job. He bought an SUV
last year, and now he wishes he * a Toyota hybrid. (1 point)
9. After failing the exam, the students all wished they *
harder. (1 point)
10. Math is difficult for Michael. He wishes he * it more
easily. (1 point)
11. Michael hopes he * a better teacher next semester. (1 point)
Wish vs. Hope
12. Jennifer didn't learn very much this semester. She wishes she *
a better teacher. (1 point)
Directions: Fill the blanks with the correct form of either hope or
wish as required by the sentence to create a meaningful sentence.
Consider #1 and #2 as examples
1. My classmates _____(wished)______ me good luck on buying a new
2. "Tell me, how did the interview go?" ... " I _____hope____ it's
3. My __________ is to marry a movie star.
4. If you ___________ for the best, you want the best results even it
A. "Will you be at the meeting tomorrow?" B. "I'm going to be very
busy but I ________ so".
5. I fixed the computer as well as I can. So we just have
to____________ for the best.
6. We have to ___________ and pray that my son's operation will go
7. Every night before going to bed, I __________ my mother good
8. We _______________ you every success in the future.
9. My sister trained hard for the ski competition. I __________
10. I applied for a managerial position at the Scotia Bank and I'm
_____________ for an interview next week.
11. I heard you're opening a new restaurant. I ___________ you will
12. She's ____________ she won't be away from the classroom for too
13. He _________ that his girlfriend will marry him.
14. My parents ___________ to visit us next year.
15. I drove my girlfriend to the airport and ____________ her a safe
16. I am calling to _____________ you a happy birthday.
17. I read in the newspaper that you have started up your own