Monday, June 16, 2008


Levels of Distractibility: Who cares? = *. Some people will be distracted from your meaning: = **. Many people will be distracted from your meaning: = ***.

Question: What's all the brouhaha about using "hopefully"?

Answer: As a practical matter, take my word for it: Do not use "hopefully" in writing. 95% of the time you will be wrong. If you must use it, test it by substituting "I hope." If "I hope" does not fit, don't use "hopefully."

Trust me on this usage: Understanding when to use "hopefully" correctly is more trouble than it is worth. Usually, the word is not necessary anyway. Use "I hope" instead.

Rating of Distractibility: (**) in writing. In writing, people have grown so used to "hopefully" that most won't notice that it is used incorrectly. (*) in speaking. In speaking, listeners will be unable to figure out that quickly whether "hopefully" is used correctly or not.

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