Difference Between Hope and Wish

Hope vs Wish

The main difference between hope and wish is that while wish refers to desire, hope refers to a possibility. For example, one' wishes' to have a good future. On the other hand, one' hopes' to have a good football match the next day or so. Hope, most of the time, is used to refer to something positive.

Hope vs Wish

Mostly, hope is used when one talks about the future, but it can also be used for the present tense. Hope means looking on the brighter sides of things. It refers to the desire of getting something better.

Wish is a word that can be used to refer to something in the past and future, both. It shows the desire of wanting something. It can be negative as well as positive. It also expresses what one wishes to do.

Comparison Table Between Hope and Wish 

Parameters of comparison Hope Wish 
Definition  Hope is used when one is referring to the possibility of something happening. Wish is the desire of wanting something. 
Emotions It is always positive. It can be negative and positive both 
Synonyms  Expectation, anticipation, longing.  Desire, yearning, aim, aspiration.  
Verb used Simple present verb Simple past tense verb 
Example I hope I get my work done before the deadline. I wish I were there when my sister graduated.  

What is Hope?

Hope is a word that gives the power to keep believing in things. It is a term used to refer to a possibility or a desire to wish upon something positive. For example: 

  1. Hope for the best. 
  2. I hope I pass my exams with good grades. 
  3. Tina hopes to clear the interview she gave last week.

It is also used to express something that is going to happen in the future or present. By using the simple present tense, 'hope' is used to show something that one thinks is possible or desires as an outcome. For example:

  1. I hope our team wins the match. 
  2. I hope our new Math professor is good.  
  3. I hope Sangeeta has a good day. 
  4. I hope my parents allow me to go on a trip this summer. 

Hope can also be used to refer to something that has already happened in the past. While referring to something that has already happened, simple past tense is used because the event is already over. For example: 

  1. I hope you had a great day. 
  2. I hope your teacher liked your presentation. 
  3. I hope Riya got the new job she was looking forward to. 
  4. I hope you know I heard your speech. 

What is Wish?

Wish is a term that is used to express one's desires for the future, present, or even past. It is often something that is really unlikely to happen or something that one expected to happen in the past.

While talking about a 'wish' in the context of the future, it is often a desire that is being talked about. For example:

  1. I wish to become a doctor. 
  2. I wish I attend my favourite singer's concert one day. 
  3. I wish to travel the world before I turn 30 years old. 

While, if the conversation is taking place in the context of being in the present, the usage of 'wish' is different. For example 

  1. If you wish to register a complaint, please let me know. 
  2. I wish to see you soon. 
  3. We do not have any seats available in the restaurant at the moment. Do you wish to wait? 

Wish is also used when a person desires something for another person. For example: 

  1. I wish you a very happy married life. 
  2. I wish you have a speedy recovery. 
  3. I wish you a very happy birthday. 
  4. I wish you a happy new year
  5. I wish you good luck with your board examinations. 

Wish is also used to express something that has already happened in the past. The emotion here is usually 'regret'. For example: 

  1. I wish I had not gone to the party last night. 
  2. I wish I had learned to drive when I had the chance to. 
  3. I wish I had studied harder for my board examination; I would have scored better. 

Main Differences Between Hope and Wish 

  1. The verb used for hope is a simple present verb, while the verb used for wish is a simple past verb or present verb. 
  2. 'Hope' is not impossible while a 'wish' can be. 
Difference Between Hope and Wish


English learners or non-native English speakers can confuse the words' hope' and 'wish' quite often. While both the words express 'desire', they are used differently in sentences, and because of them sounding so similar, they are used incorrectly.

To simplify, a 'wish' can be hypothetical or impossible, for example: "I wish to go to the Moon someday". However, 'hope' should be used in a sentence where one wants to express his longing or aspiration.


  1. https://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=PCS.005.0003A
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959354309354393

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