A glimmer of hope (The language of hope)

Marko Nikolic / EyeEm / Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

For many of us, spring – the season of new beginnings – is a time of great hope. With the flowers and trees in bloom and the temperature rising, it’s a time for feeling positive about the future. With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at words and phrases related to hope.

Starting with the verb ‘hope’, people sometimes emphasize how much they hope for something by saying they hope and pray that something will happen: I just hope and pray that she’s well enough on the day to take the exam. If you say you hope against hope that something will happen, you very much hope for it, although you know it is not likely: We’re just hoping against hope that the police catch the burglar.

The noun ‘hope’ features in a few useful phrases. If you pin (all) your hopes on someone or something, you depend on that person or thing to bring success, usually when everyone or everything else has failed: We’re pinning our hopes on the new technology. If you don’t hold out hope that something good will happen, you don’t expect that it will happen: Few people hold out any hope of finding more survivors. Meanwhile, a glimmer of hope or ray of hope is a very slight sign that something good might happen in the future: Do these sales figures offer a glimmer of hope for the company?

The adjective hopeful means ‘feeling hope’: He’s fairly hopeful that they can reach an agreement. It can also mean ‘giving feelings of hope’: There are one or two hopeful signs that the situation is improving. We use the adjective positive in a similar way: We’re seeing some very positive developments. When a future situation is hopeful, we sometimes describe it as brightThings are starting to look brighter for the UK economy. / She has a bright future ahead of her.

The adjective optimistic describes someone who is hopeful about the future and believes that good things will happen: I remain optimistic about the future of humanity.  People sometimes describe themselves as cautiously optimistic about a particular situation, meaning that they are mainly hopeful but accept that there will be difficulties: I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of the company. The adjective bullish describes someone who feels hopeful that something will be successful and expresses this in a very definite way: The team’s coach was in a bullish mood when we spoke. Finally, a formal word for ‘hopeful’ is sanguine: She is less sanguine about the prospects for smaller companies.

We trust you are feeling hopeful this week.

 

 

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “A glimmer of hope (The language of hope)

  1. Estrella Ayala Rabago

    Starting with the verb ‘hope’, people sometimes emphasize how much they hope for something by saying they hope and pray that something will happen: I just hope and pray that she’s well enough on the day to take the exam.

  2. Estrella Ayala Rabago

    The noun ‘hope’ features in a few useful phrases. If you pin (all) your hopes on someone or something, you depend on that person or thing to bring success, usually when everyone or everything else has failed: We’re pinning our hopes on the new technology.

  3. F Hossain

    Exquisite article! Your writings always offer some hope especially to the people who are struggling to learn English as a second language.

  4. Vero González

    What an excellent topic! In fact, I consider myself an optimistic person.
    Therefore, from the autumn of Buenos Aires, all these words and phrases are very welcome. Beyond the seasons!

  5. Jas Jnagal

    thnkkiiuuu… i m feeling very pessimistic in these days.. no hope.. no life.. lose my interest in evrythng.. in this situation i found it interesting to read your article… it means its really hv smthing in it.

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