Hope and wish have very similar meanings. We use both to express our desire for something. Here’s the difference:
‘To hope‘ is used to express desire for something that is possible or likely to happen.
- “I hope it will stop raining soon.”
- “I hope you’ll visit me when you come to Boston.”
- “I hope Nadeem gets the job.”
When hope is used in the past tense, it usually means that the thing hoped for didn’t happen:
- “I hoped Fatima would have finished by now.” (she hasn’t)
- “I hoped you wouldn’t find out about the surprise.” (but you probably have)
‘To wish‘ is often used to express desire for something that is impossible or unlikely, something imagined:
- “I wish we were rich.”
- “I wish unicorns were real!”
*Note that we use the past simple here even though we are talking about the present.
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It can also be used to express regret for something that has already happened.
- “I wish Fatima had finished her project.”
- “I wish you hadn’t found out about the surprise.”
*Here we use the past perfect tense.
‘Wish‘ paired with an infinitive expresses a desire to do something:
- “It’s getting cooler out, I wish to go inside now.”