On the Use of the Subjunctive with English Hope

  •  Tris Faulkner    


The present paper describes how the structure of a particular expression of ‘hope’ (e.g., I hope that x vs. My hope is that/would be that x), as well as the presence or absence of an additional modal element (e.g., would, might, may, could, can, should), can influence the speaker or subject’s perceived investment in or commitment to the proposition’s materialization and, consequently, the (un)acceptability of the subordinate clause appearing in the subjunctive. Since, hope unlike want, tends to be associated with desires that result from careful and thoughtful reasoning (e.g., Portner & Rubinstein, 2012), the standard use of an indicative embedded complement is not unexpected. I, however, explain that the more irrealis (i.e., conditional, hypothetical, unreal, uncertain, or visceral and, thus, not likely to be the product of careful and thoughtful reasoning) the ‘hope’ statement is considered to be (as manifested by a diminished sense of speaker commitment to the proposition’s possible fulfillment), is the more acceptable the use of the subjunctive becomes.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

Journal Metrics

Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.43

h-index (July 2022): 45

i10-index (July 2022): 283

h5-index (2017-2021): 25

h5-median (2017-2021): 37

Learn more