Not Hopeful About Hopefully

April 18, 2012

in Ephemera, Words

For me, a moment of silence.

From the Washington Post:  AP’s approval of ‘hopefully’ symbolizes larger debate over language

The venerated AP Stylebook publicly affirmed (via tweet, no less) what it had already told the American Copy Editors Society: It, too, had succumbed. “We now support the modern usage of hopefully,” the tweet said.

Previously, the only accepted meaning was: “In a hopeful manner.” As in, “ ‘Surely you are joking,’ the grammarian said hopefully.”

Diligent grammarians might know that “momentarily” most correctly means “for a moment,” not “in a moment” — but do they realize that “explode” originally meant “reject,” that “handsome” once meant “easy to handle,” that “ludicrous” once meant “frivolous”? In the 1940s, it was considered vulgar to “contact” someone; respectable people knew that the correct use was “to make contact with.”

Emphasis added.

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