Endpiece: Hopefully, the last word

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 04 October 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:h
  1. Robert Burchfield, Fowler's Modern English Usage Clarendon Press
  1. Oxford (1996)

    Since at least the 17th century, certain adverbs ending in −1y have acquired the ability to qualify a predication or assertion as a whole. Such adverbs are elliptical uses of somewhat longer phrases … In the 20th century there has been a swift and immoderate increase in the currency of [such] adverbs [which] include actually, basically, frankly, hopefully, regretfully, strictly, and thankfully. Suddenly, round about the end of the 1960s, and with unprecedented venom, a dunce's cap was placed on the head of anyone who used just one of them—hopefully—as a sentence adverb … Conservative speakers, taken unawares by the sudden expansion of an unrecognised type of construction, have exploded with resentment that is unlikely to fade away before at least the end of the 20th century.

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