Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

wish versus hope in English- what's the differenceWish and Hope in English are similar, but not exactly the same. 

Today, in #13 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series (see also episode 165 and 169), find out how to correctly use the verbs Wish and Hope!

Wish is usually used before a verb in the past tense.  It often talks about regrets or wants.

  • “I wish I hadn’t made that mistake.”
  • “I wish I had started sooner.”
  • “I wish I had a dog.”

We use it to express that we want something to happen, but we have no control over it.

  • Is your dad going to buy you a new car?
  • I wish!

In fairy tales and children’s stories, some form of magic makes wishes come true.

Knowing this helps you to remember to use “wish” when you can’t control the outcome or about something in the past you can’t change.

Presentation1Did you understand today’s episode?

Want to expand your vocabulary and practice your pronunciation?

Get the transcripts from today’s show!

Download the transcripts instantly.

Hope works more for future tense, though it can also be used for the present tense.  It often focuses on aspirations.

  • “I hope to find love.”
  • “I hope I get a good TOEFL score.”
  • “I hope you enjoyed the show.”

Pro-tip: If we don’t know the outcome of something, we use hope. Once we know the outcome and we can’t change it, we use wish.

  • I hope I get a good score on my exam.
  • I wish I had gotten a good score on my exam.


In this roleplay, Lindsay and Aubrey are students working together on a group project.

Lindsay: Ok, the deadline is Friday. What do you hope to accomplish in the next few days?

Michelle: I wish we had started earlier! I’m such a procrastinator!

Lindsay: I was absent the day this was assigned. I wish I had been in class that day!

Michelle: No use worrying about that now. I’m hoping we can finish the artwork and most of the slides by tomorrow.

Lindsay: Sounds good. I asked to borrow my friend’s laptop because mine is broken. I hope he says yes!

Michelle: Maybe you’ll get a new laptop for Christmas!

Lindsay: I wish!

What are your wishes?

What are your hopes?

Tell us in the comments section below!

Test Your English Level Now

Free English Quiz

Take this simple quiz and find out your English level.

  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • App-Store-Button
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)