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You can use formal as well as informal sentences in order to express hope. The normal expression is by simply using the verb ‘hope’ in the tense required by the sentence:
“I hope to see you soon.”
“I hope (that) the train arrives/will arrive on time.”
Note that you may omit ‘that’ – the link between the two sentences.
To express various degrees of hope, you may engage the use of what we call adverbs of degrees and this will signal the ‘strength’ of your emotions to the listener. In our sentences above it goes like:
“I (very much) hope (that) the train will arrive on time.”
“I am (rather) hoping (that) the train arrives on time.”
Adverbs of degree and what we call ‘gradable words’ are a complex grammatical matter, so I propose we consider them in a separate session next time, before we continue with other emotions one can express.
I hoped that … [this is more tentative]
I was hoping that … [this as well, is more tentative]
Hopefully, next time he’ll come bearing gifts.
Now, if we use verbs like ‘hope’ and ‘want’, etc. in the progressive (continuous/-ing) form, we’re expressing greater tentativeness and tact.
As an example, instead of saying:
“Did you want to see me?” you may say
“Were you wanting to see me?”
“We hope they will come to the wedding.” you may say
“We are hoping they will come to the wedding.”
By engaging these expressions, you are actually showing less directness. The result is to slightly sweeten a hidden request.
Having said that, let me leave you with a smile on your face and a more direct way of expressing hope:
Get off the highway now, should you hope to live in Hope. Let's not lose hope that Hope actually exists... :-D
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