[Ads-l] Apparent Antedating of "Hopefully" as a Sentence Adverb (Corrected Version of Posting)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 26 13:09:08 EST 2018

I support Bill's argument. My own feelings are that

a) if this truly is a sentence-modifying "hopefully," many later, pre-18th
should be findable, and

b) that the placement of a modifying "hopefully" at this point in the
sentence unexpectedly weakens the argument.


On Mon, Nov 26, 2018 at 12:18 PM Bill Mullins <amcombill at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Here's a doctrinal argument against your reading:
> In the New Testament, "hope" generally has a meaning specific to the
> promise of everlasting life with Christ for the elect (saved).  If one uses
> "hope" normally and says, "I hope for a good birthday", there is the idea
> that birthday may be good, or it may not --  the outcome is could go either
> way.  But in NT usage, for those who have accepted Christ, the outcome is
> not in doubt -- it is a solid promise.  Thus, Titus 1:1-2:
> "(1) Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the
> faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to
> godliness— (2) in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie,
> promised before the beginning of time,"
> So, for the Christian, "it is to be hoped that we will be in Heaven
> everlastingly"  is the reading that does not make sense -- it is not "to be
> hoped", it is known _with certainty_ that "we will be in Heaven
> everlastingly" (at least, for those who have accepted Him.)  And once in
> Heaven, the saved will retain forever that hope while in Heaven -- the
> promise of everlasting life with Christ is good for all eternity, and they
> will always be "with hope" -- thus "hopefully".
> >
> > Years ago I published an article in American Speech antedating the word
> "hopefully" in its controversial use as a sentence adverb (as in
> > "Hopefully, Trump will be a one-term President").  This usage had been
> regarded as a barbaric mid-20th century innovation influenced by
> > the German "Hoffentlich," but I found it used by Cotton Mather in 1702.
> >
> > Now I have discovered in Early English Books Online Text Creation
> Partnership what appears to be a sentence-adverbial usage in the
> > following work:
> >
> > Title: The trauellers ioy: or, A sermon on the third verse of the second
> chapter of Salomons song. By Master Iohn Adamson, minister of the
> > Word of God at Liberton.
> > Author: Adamson, John, d. 1653.
> > Publication info: London, : Printed by Iohn Hauiland for Henry Bell.,
> 1623.
> >
> > Such an early occurrence seems "too good to be true," but I believe that
> this is a genuine sentence-adverbial use.  Here is the relevant
> > passage, appearing at the very end of the book (unnumbered page) with
> "hopefully" being the fourth-last word.
> >
> >
> > And this night (wee beseech thee) redouble thy blessings vpon vs that
> are humbled in prayer before thee, blesse vs in body, blesse vs in
> > soule, blesse vs in the basket, blesse vs in the store, blesse vs in
> whatsoeuer belong vnto vs within doores and with∣out: giue vnto our
> > bodies a comfor∣table rest and sleepe, pitch thine Angels about our
> tents, that nothing may destroy them, and keepe our soules from
> > sleeping in sinne and the seducings of Satan: that wee (being blessed of
> thee in soule and body in this world) may haue the surer hope and
> > truer hold of euerlasting saluation from thee at that screeching day of
> iudgement to come: and that for Iesus Christ his sake, who (we hope)
> > at this present intercedeth to thee for vs, for a prosperous blessing
> from thee vpon vs, to whom with thee and thy holy spirit (three persons,
> > but one God) we desire to returne all glory, honour, do∣minion, and
> thanksgiuing, this night and euerlastingly to come, both here on earth,
> > and hereafter hopefully in Heauen. Amen.
> >
> >
> > Sentence-adverbial "hopefully" can be difficult to distinguish from the
> simple "with hope" meaning, but I have two arguments for this 1623
> > usage being sentence-adverbial.  First, "hopefully in Heaven" makes
> perfect sense as meaning "it is to be hoped that we will be in Heaven
> > everlastingly."  Second, "hopefully in Heaven" in the simple meaning of
> "feeling hope while we are in Heaven" makes no sense -- if there is
> > one thing we know about Heaven, it is that we won't have to hope for
> anything while there, as we will already be in a perfect place.
> >
> > I would welcome input as to whether my argument above is logical.
> >
> > Fred Shapiro
> > Editor
> > Yale Book of Quotations (Yale University Press)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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