Understand the Difference Between the Verbs Hope and Wish and Use Them to Express Desires

English with Kim Podcast #6: The Difference Between the Verbs Hope and Wish to Express Desires

I hope you are having a great week so far. I’m so excited to bring you the latest episode of the English with Kim podcast.

Let’s focus on the difference between the verbs “hope” and “wish.”

I decided to talk about the verbs “hope” and “wish” in this podcast because many non-native speakers confuse the two verbs, using “wish” when they actually want to use “hope.”

Even though both verbs are used to express desires, they are used for different reasons. Using them correctly helps you sound more natural in English.

In the podcast, I describe the differences between the verbs “hope” and “wish” and explain how to use each verb for present, future, and past meanings. After listening to this podcast, you’ll definitely be able to use them correctly. I hope you enjoy the podcast. 🙂

As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Transcript:

Welcome to the English with Kim podcast! This podcast is for people who want to sound more natural when speaking English. I discuss grammar, vocabulary, everyday English expressions, pronunciation, and intonation. My goal is to build your confidence in English and hopefully teach you a couple of new tricks.

In this podcast, I discuss the difference between the verbs hope and wish. You can find this podcast and a transcript of the podcast at englishwithkim.com/podcast6.

You  may be asking yourself why we need to talk about the difference between hope and wish. Don’t they express desires? They do, but we use them slightly differently. In other languages, hope and wish have more or less the same meaning.

For this reason, many students confuse hope and wish. A common is mistake is saying something like, “I wish you have a good day!” Let’s talk about why that’s not correct.

Let’s start with the verb “hope.” We use the verb hope when we want to express something that we think is a very real possibility, either something that’s going to happen soon in the present or future, or something that we think was a very real possibility in the past.

In order to express this feeling in the present or future, we tend to use a simple present verb. For example:

  • I hope you have a good day!
  • I hope you do really well on the test
  • I hope we have a lot of fun at the party.
  • I hope he finds what he’s looking for.

By using hope with the simple present verb, we show that it’s something that we think is possible, something that we desire as an outcome, something that is likely to happen.

When we use hope to talk about the past, we use a simple past tense verb. This is because the event is over and we’re expressing a genuine desire for an outcome in the past. For example:

  • I hope you had a great time at the party.
  • I hope you found the building you were looking for.
  • I hope she got the new job.

As you can see from these examples, hope is used with the simple present and simple past tense verbs to express something that we expect to happen, or something that we expected to happen in the past.

Let’s take a look at wish. We use wish to express a desired outcome in the present, future, or even the past that seems really unlikely, or that didn’t happen in the past. For this reason, when we use wish, we use the conditional form of the verb. The conditional form of the verb emphasizes that it’s unlikely to happen in the present or future, or that it didn’t happen in the past.

For example, I might say, “I wish I had more free time.” This means that I don’t have free time, but I would like to. Unfortunately, I just don’t. Another example is “He wishes he spoke French.” He doesn’t speak French; it would be nice if he did, but he actually doesn’t.

Using “wish” with the conditional form of the verb emphasizes that it’s something that’s something unreal or untrue. We can use “wish” in the same way in the past, but the conditional form looks like the past perfect.

For example, “I wish I had brought a gift to the party.” This means that I didn’t bring a gift to the party, but I wish I had – it would have been a good idea, but I didn’t. Another common example is “I wish you had told me.” This means that you didn’t tell me, but I would have liked it if you had.

As you can see from these examples, using wish with the conditional form of the verb emphasizes that it’s unlikely to happen in the present or future, or that it didn’t happen in the past.

After listening to this podcast, I hope that you feel more comfortable using hope and wish correctly. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Thank you for listening to the English with Kim podcast.

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