When we got the latest AP Stylebook updates … we had to look twice. Hopefully is now acceptable. And why not, it’s such a sweet word, full of … hope and good intentions. We weren’t the only ones to be taken aback. Eric Tenner of the Atlantic just published a rather wry piece, comparing fashion trends to language. He used the example of a tragedy in 1904 where ferry passengers adhering to the fashion rule of heavy wool clothing in June, perished on the infamous General Slocum disaster in New York Harbor. In other words, some of these old rules are not only out of date but could be deadly. That might be taking it too far… but this is a big deal for editors, writers and anyone who fancies grammar (or secretly loves the word hopefully).
In his article Tenner writes, The Washington Post reports on the Associated Press’s style guide’s final acceptance of the word hopefully in the sense of “it is hoped.” This appears to be the beginning of the end of one of the longest-running cultural battles, between professional linguists (who study how language is actually used) and language mavens, who establish rules of good usage.
Tenner continues, “The mavens-vs-linguists controversy reflects one of the great trends of the last hundred years, the weakening of authority by diffusion.”
Hmmm we are thinking “Hopefully” might have had its own list of manifestation intentions… #1. “Be Accepted!”