Dan Smith
Distinguishing "hope" and "expect" as meanings for "esperar?" Dictionaries commonly show "esperar" as the usual word for both "hope" and "expect." In English, "hope" means a wish that something will happen in the future. It may be likely, unlikely, almost certain, almost impossible. "Expect" means you are confident something will happen, you assume it will happen, you are planning that it will happen. In Spanish, how can you distinguish these meanings if it is not obvious from context? For example, how could you translate the sentences with "expect" and "hope," below? I just want to know any natural way to express the meaning. I'm getting my test scores today. 1) I expect them to be OK. (I was prepared, I am not worried). 2) I hope they will be OK. (I'm not sure, I'm worried). I'm selling my house and I'm having it inspected for termites. 3) I don't expect them to find them. (There are no termites, we just need the inspection to reassure the buyer). 4) I hope they won't find them. (I've sometimes wondered if we have them).
Nov 29, 2016 11:31 AM
Answers · 4
Buenas tardes, Dan. Aunque teóricamente 'expect' se corresponde con el español 'esperar', creo que muchas de las veces que en inglés decís "I expect..." en español usamos verbos distintos a 'esperar'. La construcción 'Espero que..." se corresponde más bien con el "I hope..." inglés. En mi opinión, las equivalencias en español de las frases que propones podrían ser así: 1) I expect them to be OK. (I was prepared, I am not worried). -> Supongo que estarán bien / Me imagino que estarán bien / 2) I hope they will be OK. (I'm not sure, I'm worried). -> Espero que estén bien. En este par, observa también la diferencia entre el uso del tiempo futuro -que sirve para marcar la probabilidad- y el del modo subjuntivo, que sirve para expresar deseos. En cuanto al otro par, las equivalencias que me parecen más naturales y usuales en español serían: 3) I don't expect them to find them. (There are no termites, we just need the inspection to reassure the buyer). -> No creo que las encuentren / Creo que no las encontrarán 4) I hope they won't find them. (I've sometimes wondered if we have them). -> Espero que no las encuentren. En resumen, creo que en el discurso espontáneo y normal, el uso de 'expect" equivale al de verbos como 'suponer', 'creer', 'imaginar', etc., que tienen que ver con la anticipación de posibilidades futuras, mientras que 'esperar' se usa más en el sentido de 'hope'. Espero haberte sido de ayuda, David.
November 29, 2016
It mostly depends on context to difference them, but you can difference them by tone and sometimes even by sarcasm. For your example with your boss, he could say in spanish with a strict tone: ¡Espero que estés aqui a las 9 en punto! It is absolutely clear he meant expect. But then if you say (Wondering tone) Espero que llegue pronto... You know it is in the sense of hope. And if you say Espero que llegue. or Estoy esperando a que llegue. It's inferred that is about waiting. You can see that in these cases there is no ambiguity, you just have to watch out for the tone and the context. If you do you will have no trouble distinguishing one from the other.
November 29, 2016
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Dan Smith
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language
Spanish