Can You Start a Sentence With “Hopefully”?

It is possible to start a sentence with “hopefully” in both formal and informal writing. “Hopefully” can affect the whole sentence, e.g., “Hopefully, we will win.” However, it can also describe how somebody performs a verb.

There are some critics of using “hopefully” to begin a sentence. However, no rule states it is incorrect, and it appears in academic and formal writing, as well as informal writing.

“Hopefully” at the beginning of a sentence can be a sentence adverb, which means it affects all the words in the sentence.

  • Hopefully, the Government will invest more in social housing projects.

However, “hopefully” can also describe how someone is performing a single verb.

  • He arrived at the venue an hour late. Hopefully searching for Maria, he saw her sitting at the entrance.

We have explained the basics of how to use “hopefully” to begin a sentence. However, keep reading the rest of the article to learn more about using it in formal and informal writing.

We’ll also show some alternatives to using “hopefully” in formal writing.

Can You Start a Sentence With “Hopefully” in Formal Writing?

You can start a sentence with “hopefully” in formal writing, and no rule states that you cannot.

There are, however, some people who feel it is incorrect or bad practice to do so.

Here are a few examples of how “hopefully” can be used to start a sentence in formal writing:

  • Hopefully, the evidence contained within this essay is sufficient proof of climate change.
  • Hopefully, the President will do something about student debt.

Furthermore, you can use “hopefully” to refer to a single verb. This usage is less common at the start of a sentence.

  • He arrived at the tutor’s office. Hopefully looking down the list for his name, he saw that he had been accepted.

The word “hopefully” is not considered highly formal. Therefore, instead of using the word “hopefully” in an essay, you could use an alternative such as:

  • Expectantly
  • Surely

Can You Start a Sentence With “Hopefully” in Informal Writing?

You can use “hopefully” to start sentences in informal writing, which is fairly common. It is probably more common in informal writing than in formal writing.

This is because grammar purists, who feel it is incorrect, hold more influence over academic writing rules than they do over conversational messaging.

Here are some examples of “hopefully” in some informal contexts:

  • Hopefully, we can meet up sometime this week.
  • Hopefully, there will be an improvement in his performance.