AP loosens up on ‘hopefully’

Hopefully, copy editors will find another spike on which to impale sentences. Says an update to the AP Stylebook:

The traditional meaning is in a hopeful manner. Also acceptable is the modern usage: it’s hoped, we hope. Correct: “You’re leaving soon?” she asked hopefully.

The old rule:

It means in a hopeful manner. Do not use it to mean it is hoped, let us hope or we hope.

In his 2007 book “When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It,” Ben Yagoda summed up the history of this troublesome word: It has been used in its arriviste sense since at least 1702 and became a bugaboo in print around 1960. There’s no good argument against using it as a sentence adverb, he declares, but:

I don’t use hopefully in writing and I cast a cold eye on those who do. Hoping is a vague, unsophisticated, and largely uninteresting state of mind. One associates it with children and their feelings about birthday presents and snow days. Compared to the surgical precision of sentence adverbs like presumably, ostensibly, and understandably, hopefully is a bowl of mush.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1280744710 Peter Marengo

    I guess these bougie AP writers have got to come up with something to justify their raison d’être. Hopefully in the future they will find more productive nits to pick

  • Anonymous

    huh?