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The fateful headline read, “Linguists languish: AP OKs ‘hopefully’ “

April 22, 2012

When I opened up the newspaper on April19, my eyes went straight to the headline, even though the article was placed below the fold on page 2, camouflaged by the list of celebrity birthdays and the numbers of winning lottery tickets. The article reported that the AP Stylebook had announced in a tweet, “We now support the modern usage of hopefully. It is hoped, we hope.”

Previously, the only accepted usage of  the word “hopefully,” according to the AP Stylebook, was, ‘”In a hopeful manner.” For as long as I can remember (and that’s a long, long time), it has been incorrect to use “hopefully” in a sentence that began, “Hopefully, I am … .”

Not anymore.

The article pointed out that all of the major dictionaries had already accepted the “modern” definitions of the word “‘hopefully.” But when I read that the AP Stylebook had given in as well, I swear I could hear the late Edwin Newman roll over in his grave — at least twice.

If you aren’t a  linguist, a copy editor or a  proofreader, you probably don’t care about this minor change in the usage of the English language. But I do. You’ve probably never had a sign on your office door that read, “Abandon ‘hopefully’ all ye who enter here.” But I have.

If you are a linguist, a copy editor or a proofreader, I feel your pain. And I appreciate your trying your best to hide the story below the fold on page 2.

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One Response to “The fateful headline read, “Linguists languish: AP OKs ‘hopefully’ “”


  1. Thanks. I appreciate your reading my post.

    Like


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