Most of us have been guilty, perhaps often, of saying something like: “Hopefully, that won’t happen.” Or “Hopefully, it will happen.” Purists insist that starting a sentence with “hopefully” is just WRONG, albeit commonplace. But where did it come from?
To be correct, I suppose one would say something along the lines of “One can hope that won’t happen,” or “I hope that will happen.”
But maybe once upon a time people said, “I say hopefully that such-and-such will happen,” and eventually people just left out the “I say” to leave a dangling “hopefully.” That would make it not exactly incorrect but just lazy.
Now “ain’t,” on the other hand, (which I read somewhere is short for “am I not”), makes no sense whatsoever in how it was used in a past century or in today’s conversation and writing. “Ain’t it grand” or “I ain’t going that way” just does not pass muster.
Hopefully, we can all lighten up a little about language. But I remain ever hopeful that purists will continue to remind us, from time to time, how correct English looks and sounds.
[Thanks to Manan Chhabra on Unsplash.com for the featured image.]