Garblog's Pages

Friday, April 27, 2012

Grammar Girl : Hopefully :: Quick and Dirty Tips ™

OK! It's now OK to use hopefully at the start of sentences when you want to say something like this:
"I am hopeful that something will happen,” or “I am hopeful that the next part of the sentence is true.”
Hopefully, you'll read further to find out why.

I write that it's now OK not simply because the Associated Press recently changed its preference for its use. I write it because Mignon Fogarty, author off the popular, respected Grammar Girl books and column, has affirmed that change in use. She writes:
I don’t consider myself a leader when it comes to language change. I tell you what the safe choices are while also trying to let you know when something is OK in informal English or seems to be making ground into Standard English. I almost always defer to the style guides, so in the past articles, I’ve told you that even though I think using “hopefully” as a sentence adverb is logical and should be allowed, I can’t recommend that you do it.
Now, I’m delighted to be able to tell you that if you write for the Associated Press or follow AP style, you’re allowed to use “hopefully” as a sentence adverb. Finally!
She makes an important point, however:
You’re still not required to do it, and you should know that doing it is still likely to annoy some readers, but if you want to use “hopefully” in this way, you can cite the Associated Press Stylebook for support. 
Fogarty also notes that the highly respected Garner's Modern American Usage says the fight against using hopefully to begin sentences is a lost cause. And she points out that one of the AP editors involved in the style revision notes "that the Associated Press isn't the first referring to sanction the modern use."

I recommend reading the rest of Fogarty's informative column. It provides advice on the use of sentence adverbs (like hopefully) and how to use hopefully correctly as a sentence adverb. Fogarty also describes why style manuals revise their preferences occasionally.

Speaking of style guides, you're welcome to check out Garbl's Editorial Style Manual. I haven't yet revised the entry for hopefully. Hopefully, I will do it soon!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...