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By  Dr. Parley Speake

HOPEFULLY: Most of us at the Institute for the Linguistically Impaired have fought the brainless use of hopefully for years. However, identical constructions such as, “Fortunately, I had my grammar book,” or, “Presumably, you’re an expert,” are accepted and used by the same infallible experts, namely, most of us.

This leads a liberal minority at the Institute, pointing out that we also no longer distinguish between “shall” and “will,” to urge us to relax. “Hey this is a dynamic language,” they assure us.

These slackers try to prove their case with sentence pairs such as, “Luckily, he could sew,” and “Hopefully, he can sew,” thinking that that settles the matter.

Dr. Verbos Metikulos argued the correct position most succinctly: “‘Hopefully, he can sew’ means that he sews hopefully, and that’s stupid. Instead, say, ‘I hope he can sew.’

“‘Hopefully,’ like ‘unique,’ has a specific use, as in, ‘Any for me? he asked hopefully.’

“Misusing ‘hopefully’ is as careless as saying very unique when you mean very unusual.’ Very sloppy.”

Our staff psychologist, Dr. Viva Palaver, added interesting support. “Saying I hope instead of hopefully has you making an ‘I statement,’ which is clearer and healthier. As in using active verbs instead of passive, you’re taking responsibility for what you say.”

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