Posted on 10/09/2019 at 05:28 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

As you guessed from the headline, one of Grammar Girl’s latest must-read tips focuses on the right way to spell “smoky.”

That is to say, never with an e unless you’re referencing the bear or a certain movie title.

But you might not have guessed — unless you’re a holdout on this particular issue — that we’d also talk about the proper use of “hopefully.”

Yes, for centuries (and until recently, if you followed certain style guides), “hopefully” was correctly used to mean “with hope” or “in a hopeful manner.”

However, a few decades ago, popular usage began shifting toward using it as a replacement for “it is hoped that” or “I hope that.”

While grammar sticklers insisted that this was incorrect, Grammar Girl did the research to discover there was no actual linguistic reason for it to be incorrect.

Think about it: Other adverbs like “fortunately” and “mercifully” are allowed to modify entire sentences; why not “hopefully”?

So at this point, most style guides have thrown in the towel — some with reluctance, others with fatalistic acceptance.

Learn more about sentence adverbs and the history of “hopefully” on Grammar Girl’s website.

Categories: Behind the scenes

Tagged As: Grammar Girl, Language

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