Hopefully, the AP gives in

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported on the AP’s surrender on hopefully. Now if you think Lexicide is pretentious, please read the editorial, which leads with “The barbarians have done it.” We at Lexicide would never refer to anyone as a barbarian. (We prefer “knuckle-dragging troglodyte.”)

On hopefully, I feel less severe than the Post. After all, using it to mean “it is hoped that” (“Hopefully, writers will stop using words incorrectly.”) does not eliminate the traditional meaning of “full of hope” (“She waited hopefully for word of her husband’s fate.”). Both seem to coexist peacefully, clarified by context. Also, “it is hoped that” is awkward and passive, and there are times when the first person “I hope that” is not appropriate.

You see? We at Lexicide welcome useful language drift — some of the time, at least. We promise to always be open-minded about these things. Hopefully.

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