Look Forward To | Hope | Expect

Expectations and hopes are different. If you expect something to happen, you have a good reason to think it will in fact happen. Hoping is more emotional. If you hope for something to happen, you would like it to happen, but you don’t know whether it will.

  • She is expecting a baby. (= She is pregnant.)
  • She is hoping it will be a girl.
  • I am expecting John to phone at four o’clock.
  • I hope he has got some good news.

One can expect good or bad things to happen, but one only hopes for good things.

Look forward to

Look forward to means ‘think about something in the future with pleasure’. You look forward to something that is certain to happen, and that you are glad about. Simple and progressive forms can often be used with little difference of meaning.

  • He looks/ He is looking forward to his next birthday.

Look forward to can be followed by to …ing, but not by an infinitive.

  • I look forward to meeting you.
  • I look forward to hearing from you.

Grammar notes

We use hope for before a direct object.

  • We are expecting rain soon.
  • We are hoping for a lot of rain – the garden is very dry.

Expect and hope can be used with a following infinitive.

  • We expect to spend the summer in France.
  • We hope to see Alice while we are there.

An object + infinitive structure is possible after except and hope.

  • I expect him to arrive about ten o’clock.
  • We are hoping for John to come up with some new ideas.

Expect and hope can be followed by that-clauses.

  • I expect that she will be here soon.
  • I hope that she will recognize me.

Before a that-clause, simple and progressive forms of hope can often be used with little difference of meaning.

  • We hope/ We are hoping (that) you can come and stay with us soon.

Before a that-clause, progressive forms of expect are not normally used.

  • I expect that she will be here soon. (NOT I am expecting that she …)

Before an infinitive, simple and progressive forms of hope and except can often be used with little difference of meaning.

  • We hope/ We are hoping to get to Canada next weekend.
  • We expect/ We are expecting to hear from Lucy today.

After I hope, we often use a present tense with a future meaning.

  • I hope the bus comes (= will come) soon.

We can use I was hoping to introduce a polite request.

  • I was hoping you could lend me some money.

I had hoped … is used to talk about hopes that were not realized.

  • I had hoped that Ann would become a doctor, but she wasn’t good enough at science.
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Manjusha Nambiar

I am the founder and editor of http://www.perfectyourenglish.com, http://www.ielts-practice.org, and http://ncertguides.com

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