Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Rerun: "The road to Hell is paved with adverbs" - Stephen King

Writing in Salon online, Mary Elizabeth Williams drops the bad news that the Associated Press stylebook is now accepting the improper use of the word "hopefully."

Well, you know how those of us who like correct grammar, spelling and pronunciation are reacting to that bomb.  We're the ones who stand there and mutter "and ME"  when someone says, "That DVD belongs to Connie and I."  Our eyebrows shoot skyward when someone sputters, "Who can I talk to about all this?"  We moan over misplaced modifiers, we mourn silently when someone says, "It's a mute point" and we grind our choppers upon hearing, "Splitting infinitives is something that is best to never do."  But the ne plus ultra of things that drive us to distraction is hearing someone let go with, "Hopefully, the pizzas will be here before the kids get home."

(You know what's fun?  Using hopefully correctly!  As in, "Hopefully, I went to the race track yesterday."  People will look at me, and say, "Well did you go, or didn't you?"  And I say, "I did. Hopefully!"  They walk away shaking their heads.)

Hopefully is an adverb, so it should only be used to describe the verb.  Pizzas do not arrive full of hope.  Full of cheese and pepperoni, sure.  You can say, "I hope the pizzas will be here before the kids get home."

Or, now, you can say it incorrectly, and still work for the Associated Press.  Hopefully.

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