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Expressing Hope


The difference between "wish" and "hope"

How to use "wish"

  • Wish is most commonly used in hypothetical (or imagined/unreal) situations:
    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."

How to use "hope"

  • Hope can also be used in expressions of goodwill, but the grammar is slightly different:
    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.(future possibility)
    I was hoping that you would come to the party.(but you didn't)
    I had hoped to see you at the party on Saturday. (but I didn't)

Other ways to express hope

You can also express hope in the following ways:

  • I would like to have a car.
  • I really want to have a car
  • What I really want is to have a car.


  • "I wish you had done the work" is a regret. You didn't do the work (in the past) and I am annoyed because of that.

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