Friday, February 1, 2013

More Word Choices (Part 4 of 7)

Hopefully You'll Understand

People have started sentences with hopefully and fortunately and other similar adverbs so long that they use them without thinking. Most dictionaries list their usage as acceptable. Grammatically, however, they're incorrect. They're shortcuts in language and people rarely misunderstand.

I try not to use such expressions because of the grammar. Those words are adverbs and they have to modify another word.

* Hopefully, I'll recover from the flu by Monday.

* Fortunately, I made a wise choice when I bought the insurance policy.

In the first example, hopefully means I hope or I am hopeful. Fortunately refers to it is fortunate, which makes fortunate what we call a predicate adjective. But to what do those adverbs refer? That shows the difference between what is grammatically correct and what I can get away with as a writer.

Even though I can get away with sloppy grammar, 
I'm a professional and try to do it correctly.

1 comment:

  1. "Even though I can get away with sloppy grammar,
    I'm a professional and try to do it correctly." Thank you for the advice and the reminder that good enough isn't good enough.


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