Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Idioms: hope

Type: Article

Hope springs eternal for Tim Bowen as he introduces his latest set of idioms.

‘The government is hoping against hope that the opposition will fail to win the upcoming by-election.’ If you hope against hope, you hope that something will happen or be true, even though you know that it is very unlikely. 

If you half hope that something will happen, you describe your feelings when you are not sure whether you want something or not, as in ‘She waited at the station, half hoping that he wouldn’t show up’. 

If someone expresses a particularly optimistic expectation of something happening and you feel that it is very unlikely, you might respond with some hope or some hope of that, as in ‘Peter might be able to lend you the money.’ ~ ‘Some hope!’ 

If you don’t hold out much hope in a particular situation, you are not particularly optimistic that something will happen, as in ‘The team has a chance in Saturday’s match against the league leaders but I don’t hold out much hope’. 

If someone doesn’t have a hope in hell of achieving something, they have no chance whatsoever, as in ‘If he doesn’t start doing some work, he doesn’t have a hope in hell of passing his exams’. 

If a situation is beyond hope or beyond all hope, it is so bad that it will never get better, as in ‘The economic situation in the country has now deteriorated beyond all hope’. On the other hand, a possible response to that might be ‘You never know - hope springs eternal’, meaning that there is always a chance, however, remote, that something you wish for might happen.

 

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