Michael IELTS Band 9
Professional Teacher
Glimpse of hope / Glimmer of hope I recently corrected a student who wrote that there was a "glimpse of hope" that something might happen. I said that the word "glimmer" was correct but he was pretty insistent that he had seen "glimpse of hope" many times. Lo and behold, I found many usages of "glimpse of hope" here: http://fraze.it/n_search.jsp?q=glimpse+of+hope&l=0 This is one of the sentences: "You'll seek in vain, though, for a glimpse of hope for the CSA business model." Surely this usage of "glimpse" is wrong and it should be "glimmer". Or am I being excessively rigid about the usage of "glimpse"? My instinct is "glimpse" and "glimmer" sound similar and so this is a common malapropism. Here are some usages of "glimmer of hope": http://fraze.it/n_search.jsp?q=glimmer+of+hope&l=0 Any thoughts? Thanks for reading.
Feb 8, 2017 2:12 PM
Answers · 13
My off-the-cuff US response is that I think you could use any of a number of words and they would all be acceptable. I don't see why you couldn't say "a scintilla of hope" or "a twinkle of hope" or "a ray of hope" or "a flash of hope." I don't perceive "glimmer of hope" as an unalterable stock phrase, idiom, or colocation. The quick reality check for me is always a couple of searches: a site search of Project Gutenberg, followed by a Google Books search. site:www.gutenberg.org "glimpse of hope" One hit, from an 1871 British novel: "And all unvisited by a ray of light, a glimpse of hope, even by the dream of what might be, which has gilded so many a weary night-watch with fleeting visions of the dawn." books.google.com turns up thousands of hits but I don't know how relevant they all are. (Google is quite unreliable on searches for exact, literal phrases--it tries too hard to generalize your search for you). A few: "Those on the cusp of adulthood provided a glimpse of hope for the future," a recent Yale University Press book about the end of the Holocaust. "The Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the early 1990s offered a glimpse of hope also to the relations between Israel and its Arab citizens." Eureka! "However, when his cool reflections returned, he plainly perceived that his case was neither mended nor altered by Sophia's billet, unless to give him some little glimpse of hope, from her constancy, of some favourable accident hereafter."--Fielding, "Tom Jones" (Why didn't that turn up in my Gutenberg search?) (It's in the PG text). (Google is weird). Oh, one of the funnier irrelevant search results: a book about (the famous US comedian) Bob Hope had a reference to somebody catching "a glimpse of Hope!"
February 8, 2017
I think it could be the fault of a Norwegian lyricist called Nils Bech, who wrote a song called 'Glimpse of Hope'. I agree with you that it's wrong - the expression should be 'glimmer of hope'.
February 8, 2017
I agree with Su.Ki 1. The marked civility of Clare's tone in calling her seemed to have inspired her, for the moment, with a new glimmer of hope. (Tess of the d'Urbervilles - A Pure Woman) 2. Aramis raised his head gently, and a glimmer of hope might be seen once more to animate his eyes. ( The Man in the Iron Mask) 3. SAN DIEGO - The glimmer of hope emerged, then cruelly was taken away from the Dodgers, who watched as the Florida Marlins trailed by three runs but rallied for a crucial victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Glimpse of Hope: Just a quick look, momentary or partial view ( I got only a glimpse of the queen as she rode by).
February 8, 2017
I was familiar with some phrases like "Glimpse of smile", "light of hope" "beacon of hope" and also heard this phrase "Glimpse of hope" but "glimmer of hope" is new to me. I had no idea it was wrong to use glimpse in that way! Thanks @Michael for letting us know about it.
February 8, 2017
The phrase 'scintilla of hope,' is sometimes used here. Not sure about 'ray,' with hope (although ray of light is extremely common and means ray of hope). I've never heard of a 'flash,' of hope but then I'd also never heard of a 'glimpse,' of hope until about 120 seconds ago.
February 8, 2017
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!