AP, I thought we were friends. <Insert tear and muffled sob here.>
I learned this morning that the Associated Press–my go-to guide for all of my business writing–bent its rules to accept the modern usage of “hopefully.” Now, the word is not only a simple adverb as in, “I waited hopefully for his call.” It’s also okay for us to use “hopefully” as in, “Hopefully, it’s not a sign of things to come.”
Hopefully, I won’t puke!
I admit that I’m one of those staunch “prescriptivists” as defined in a recent Washington Post article further detailing the metamorphosis of language. For example, I still cringe when a newscaster uses “impact” as a verb. I always do my best to abide by the rules of “comprise” and “compose.” And, just a few weeks ago, I began my hunt for a different doctor, all because my current doctor said the non-word “irregardless” four times during my annual physical. Yep, I have my standards.
God help us, I feel like AP’s decision opens wormcans containing even greater grammatical horror. Pretty soon, it will be acceptable for us to say, “We was going to the bank…” and “Her and him went to the store…” And why? Simply because those in linguistic authority throw up their hands and surrender to a society that abuses its Tolerance Card and worships the color gray.
Yes, people talk “that way,” and good writing considers those idiosyncracies when developing believable characters and settings. But I protest our throwing away grammatical rules for popularity’s sake. Hopefully… I mean, cough, ahem… I hope we can stand our ground.
WRITING PROMPT 1: What really “irks” you? Write about it.
WRITING PROMPT 2: Make a list of things that make you feel hopeful.