expect, hope, look forward, wait, want and wish

  • Meaning expect
    Expecting is a kind of thinking: it is not an emotion. If I expect something, I have good reason to think that it will happen.
      We expect to leave here in three years.
      I’m expecting a phone call from John today.

    hope
    Hoping is more emotional. If I hope for something, I want it to happen, but I am not sure that it will happen, and I can do nothing about it.

      I hope she writes to me soon.
      I hope they find that poor woman’s child.
      I hope we don’t have a war.

    look forward
    Looking forward is an emotion about something that is certain to happen. If I look forward to something, I know it will happen, I feel happy about it, and I would like the time to pass quickly so that it will happen soon.

      He’s looking forward to his birthday.
      I’m really looking forward to going to Morocco in June.
      I look forward to hearing from you.(common formula at the end of a letter)

    wait
    Waiting happens when something is late, or when you are early for something. I wait for something that will probably happen soon; I am conscious of the time passing (perhaps not quickly enough); I may be angry or impatient.

      I hate waiting for buses.
      It’s difficult to wait for things when you’re three years old.
      ‘What’s for supper?’ Wait and see. ‘

    want
    Wanting is emotional, like hoping. But if I want something to happen, I may be able to do something about it.

      What do you want to do when you leave school?
      I’m going to start saving money. I want a better car.

    wish
    Wishing is wanting something that is impossible, or that doesn’t seem probable — being sorry that things are not different.

      I wish I could fly.
      I wish I had more money.
      I wish she would stop singing.
      Wish + infinitive can also be used like want (but wish is more formal).
      I wish to see the manager.
  • Some comparisons
      I’m expecting a phone call from Mary.
      I’ve been waiting all day for Mary to phone — what does she think she’s doing?
      I expect it will stop raining soon. ( = I think it will stop.)
      I hope it stops raining soon. ( = it may stop or it may not; I would like it to stop.)
      I wish it would stop raining. ( = it doesn’t look as if it’s going to stop;
      I feel sorry about that.)
      I hope you have a good time in Ireland.(I can’t do anything about it.)
      I want you to have a good time while you’re staying with us. (I’ll do what I can to make things nice for you.)
      I expected her at ten, but she was late.
      I waited for her until eleven, and then I went home.
  • Structures
    • [expect + object expect (+ object) + infinitive expect + that- clause expect so]
      I’m expecting a phone call.
      I expect to see her on Sunday.
      I’m expecting him to arrive soon.
      I expect (that) he’ll be here soon.
      ‘Is Lucy coming?’ ‘I expect so.’
      [hope for + object hope + infinitive hope + that- clause hope so]
      I’m hoping fora letter from Eric.
      I hope to go to America next month.
      I hope that they get here soon.
      ‘Are the shops open tomorrow?’ I hope so.’
      [look forward to + object look forward to… -ing]
      I’m looking forward to the holidays.
      I look forward to hearing from you.
      [wait
      wait and.. .
      wait for + object
      wait + infinitive
      wait for + object + infinitive]
      ‘Can I go now?’ ‘Wait.’
      ‘What’s for supper?’ ‘Wait and see. ‘
      I’m waiting for a phone call.
      I’m waiting to hear from John.
      I’m waiting for John to phone.
      [ want + object want(+ object) + infinitive]
      I want a new car.
      I want to go home.
      I want him to go home.
      [wish(+ object) + infinitive wish + clause]
      I wish to see the manager. (formal)
      I wish him to look at this, (formal)
      I wish I had more money.