Expect, hope and wait

wait (for) / hope / expect

When we want something to happen or to be true, and usually have a good reason to think that it might, we hope. We use ‘to hope’ to talk about our aspirations for the future.
Examples: I’m hoping for a job interview next week.
She’s hoping (that) she won’t be away very long.
I hope (that) they win.

[+ to + infinitive] They hope to visit us next year.

In Spanish, esperar + subjuntivo in these examples:

I hope he likes the present.
Espero que le guste el regalito.

We hope it’s nothing serious.
Esperamos que no sea nada grave.

I hope everything goes well/OK.
Espero que todo vaya bien.

Consejo: Para que te sea más fácil recordar el significado de “hope” piensa que es un “deseo”.

to expect

to expect (and not hope)  = esperar + indicativo

To expect means that we anticipate something – or suppose (perhaps quite positively)  that it will happen, or someone will come (to see us, or to an event), etc.

I expect he’ll like the present.
Espero que le gustará el regalito.

We expect it won’t be anything serious.
Esperamos que no será nada grave.

I expect everything’s going alright/OK.
Espero (supongo) que todo está yendo (/va) bien.

Consejo: Para que te sea más fácil recordar el significado de “expect” piensa que es una expectativa razonable de que algo ocurra o no ocurra.


to wait for

to wait for (something / someone)  = esperar por/a, estar esparando, a la espera de. etc. and often refers to when we physically wait for a form of transport (bus, train, tram etc.) – and sometimes a person or people, especially when we have arranged to meet at a certain time.

I’m waiting for the bus.
Estoy esperando al autobus.

I’ve been waiting for the train for half an hour.
Llevo una media hora esperando al tren

Esto significa que he esperado viendo pasar los minutos, las horas, etc. Quizá sentado, quizá dándome vueltas por la oficina o la casa. Suele ser algo físico.

NOW, check that you understand the differences in meaning between the following sentences:

  • He hopes Juan will come to the party.
  • He expects Juan will come to the party.
  • He’s waiting for Juan to ‘phone him back.


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