Distinguishing Between Hope & Wish

Hope vs Wish

There are many pairs of words in English that are similar in meaning, making people use them interchangeably. One such pair is hope and wish that expresses our desire or belief. While hope is our desire for a positive outcome in a particular situation or circumstances, wish is also a desire that is an expression of goodwill. There are slight differences in usage and context that will be clear to non-native speakers of English language after reading this article.


Hope is used to mention a desired outcome. You hope your son has a merry Christmas. It expresses your desire that your son should be able to celebrate Christmas merrily. If it is your daughter’s wedding the next day, and you say that you hope it does not rain tomorrow, it tells that you are apprehensive that it might rain tomorrow, and you sincerely desire that it does not. Rain is a possible outcome tomorrow, but you do not want it to happen, as it is an important event in the life of your daughter. If your friend has studied hard, you hope he clears the exam, as he might otherwise feel hurt. Hope is a general feeling or belief that a desire is fulfilled.


If you are ill and go to a clinic, you tell the receptionist that you wish to see the doctor. It merely means that you have a desire to see the doctor right now and are requesting the receptionist to get the doctor for you. If you have a party and talk to your friend on the phone, you say that you wish he or she was here. This means you want to tell the person you are missing him or her and desire to have him or her in your party. This is a longing, or desire expressed.

Key Takeaways

  • Wish can be used to exchange pleasantries while hope cannot. You wish happy birthday or happy anniversary, but you only hope that weather remains good to have a blast of a time on your birthday.
  • Emotions get involved in a hope while wish remains neutral. For example, I sincerely hope that you get well soon while I wish you a speedy recovery just expresses your desire to see the person get well soon.
  • You hope that nothing untoward happens, and the event takes place as planned without any disturbances. You wish success to your friend for his exam, whereas he hopes to do well in the exam. An injured player hopes to get well in time to play the game, whereas his fans wish that he got well in time to be able to play the match.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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