Difference between Wish and Hope?

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Anonymous:
Hello there,

Could anyone please let me know the exact difference between Wish and Hope?

Thanks and regards
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AnonymousCould anyone please let me know the exact difference between Wish and Hope?
There are too many permutations to consider in a forum post, so the "exact difference" is hard to specify without writing page after page of explanation. Even the grammar of the two is entirely different.

One difference worth noting, however, is that what follows "I hope" must be a possible, but unknown, situation, and what follows "I wish" must be counterfactual and, if a wish for the future, must be something you have no control over. Thus, if I am about to telephone someone,

I hope he's there is based on my ignorance of his whereabouts. ("Is he there?" cannot be answered, as I see it. I don't know. I haven't started to dial yet.)

But after getting no answer,

I wish he were there is based on my belief that he is not there. ("He is there" is counter to the facts, as I see them.)

Another example.

I wish I would pass the exam tomorrow is not good English because you have control over passing your exams. Here, you would say instead, I hope that I [pass / will pass] the exam tomorrow. Although you have control over passing the exam, you don't know if you will pass or not.

It also follows from above that you can wish about the past, but you can't hope about the past.

I wish I had bought that car expresses regret about the past - regret that you didn't buy that car.
You can't make an equivalent sentence with 'hope', because the element of not knowing is not present. Presumably you would know if you had bought the car, so I hope I (had) bought that car makes no sense. You can only use 'hope' like that if you have a bad memory, and it worries you: I hope I turned off the oven before leaving the house today. In this case you don't know because of your bad memory.

(If you say I wish I had turned off the oven before leaving the house today, you are saying that you know that you did not turn off the oven before leaving.)

CJ
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ALL REPLIES
Wish is most commonly used in hypothetical (or imagined) situations.
Ex: I wish I was a doctor. (This means I'm not a doctor, I would be happy if I was one)

Hope can be used to specify a desired outcome.
Ex: I hope he comes today. (Future possibilities)

/Sameer
Full Member204
1 comment
Anonymous:
Dear Sameer,
i'm pleased to comment on your reply .
you said that "Wish" is most commonly used in an imaginary situation.(Unreal situations).This

definition was very clear but unfortunately you failed to apply it on your sentences.

I wish ......Imaginary situation....!
so,
I wish I was a doctor. Incorrect.

I wish I were a doctor. correct

Ex: I wish I was a doctor. (This means I'm not a doctor, I would be happy if I was one)

Ex: I wish I were a doctor. ( This means I'm not a doctor, I would be happy if I were one).

Akram,
Not positive/negative, but you are right.
'Wish' is unlikelihood: 'I wish I could sing'.
'Hope' is possibility: 'I hope I can pass the exam.'

You cannot use either with infinitives ('to do'), though.
I wish you could find good products (but you can't).
I hope you will find good products (there's a reasonable chance).
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Anonymous:
I wish I was a doctor. this is correct, although I wish I were is more appropriate
Anonymous:
this isn't always the case (hypothetical or imagined situation)

"We wish you a merry Christmas"

I would say that 'to wish' is similar with 'to give'

that is to say, the speaker is giving a verbal desired outcome to the receiver

this can be both positive and negative; "i wish he was dead" / "i wish him happiness"

in both examples, the thought / wish is being 'given' (as with the above example - i wish i was a doctor - the giver can also be the receiver)
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