Hope vs Wish

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between these two words.

The word HOPE is used to talk about possible situations that we desire in the past, present or future which are possible. For example:

I haven’t looked the weather forecast yet. I hope it’s sunny.

I hope you have a nice holiday.

I hope I will be promoted soon.

The last two examples are about the future. In English, we can use the future tense or the present tense after the word “hope” to talk about the future. Both are natural.

On the other hand, WISH is used to talk about situations that we desire, but which are the opposite of the current reality or which are impossible. We can use wish + past tense to talk about our situation right now. For example:

I wish I had an umbrella. It’s raining outside.

I wish I didn’t have to travel on Sunday.

I wish I were taller.

When we use wish + past perfect tense, we are talking about regrets we have from the past. For example:

I wish I hadn’t stayed at home for the weekend.

I wish I had gone to bed earlier last night.

We can use wish + would + verb to talk about situations that often happen in our lives that we don’t like. For example:

I wish my boyfriend would help me clean the house

I wish my neighbors wouldn’t play their music so loudly.

We can also use wish + noun to talk about things that we desire for other people. In these cases, the meaning of  “wish” is more similar to “hope”. This way of using “wish”, however, is much less common that the other ways. For example:

We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Wish me luck on my exam.

I wish you health and happiness.


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