“I Was Hoping” vs. “I Hoped“ – Difference (With Table)

In the English language, we have this thing called tenses. And, well, they can be intense. While tenses work to make sentences more understandable and clear, figuring out the proper tense for what you want to say can be a headache. But, don’t worry because we are here to help!

What Is The Difference Between ‘I Was Hoping’ And ‘I Hoped?’

‘I was hoping’ and ‘I hoped’ differ in their tenses. ‘I was hoping’ is in past continuous tense, which we use to describe more transitory actions. ‘I hoped’ is in the simple past tense, which we use for more long-lived acts. We also use ‘I was hoping’ to sound polite.

To better understand the difference between ‘I was hoping’ and ‘I hoped,’ here’s a table to further explain the past continuous tense and the simple past tense.

Simple Past TenseTo indicate a past habit or an action that is completed and done
Continuous Past TenseTo express a past action that is not yet fully completed
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What Does ‘I Was Hoping’ Mean?

‘I was hoping’ means wishing or wanting something to be the case. It is in the continuous past, and we use it for moments where hope is immediate and momentary. It is usually ‘hope’ for a specific, current situation. We also use it to speak in a more polite tone.

We use the continuous past tense to express a past action that is not yet fully completed. So, if we say ‘I was hoping,’ we started hoping in the past, but we’re also still hoping now. In the same way, we use it for transitory moments since it is still in the current.

‘I hoped to study abroad’ is more long-term, in a way that they had hoped to study abroad for a long time. While ‘I was hoping to study abroad’ is more at the moment, in a way that there’s still hope of it being the case.

We also use ‘I was hoping’ to show politeness in speaking. For example, ‘I was hoping you could lend me a hand for this project’ sounds more polite than ‘Can you lend me a hand for this project?’

Examples Of How To Use ‘I Was Hoping’ In A Sentence

Below are examples of using ‘I was hoping’ in a sentence.

  1. I was hoping you could lend me some money.
  2. I was hoping to come to school today, but I fell sick.
  3. I was hoping to reach on time, but the busy roads weren’t of any help.
  4. I was hoping to go to the party, but it didn’t match my schedule.
  5. I was hoping you could spare me a few minutes of your time.
  6. I was hoping to get good grades this semester.
  7. I was hoping to go home tomorrow, after this outing.
  8. I was hoping to finish all my tasks by today.
  9. I was hoping you could help me carry these books.
  10. I was hoping you could lend me your camera.

What Does ‘I Hoped’ Mean?

‘I hoped’ means the speaker wished or wanted something to be the case. It is in the simple past, and we use it for moments where hope was more long-term and fundamental. It is usually ‘hope’ for more abstract, long-term goals or wishes.

We use the simple past to indicate a past habit or an action completed and done. So, if we say ‘I hoped,’ we hoped only in the past, and we are not hoping anymore, at the moment. In the same way, we use it for more long-term hopes rather than hope for a current or specific time.

For example, ‘I was hoping to come to school today’ is more at-the-moment and concrete. While ‘When I was young, I hoped to be a teacher’ tells us more of a long-term goal or hope the speaker had in the past.

Examples Of How To Use ‘I Hoped’ In A Sentence

Below are examples of using ‘I hoped’ in a sentence.

  1. I hoped to become a teacher someday.
  2. Jamie’s dad hoped he grew up to be a good man.
  3. She hoped to see more clarity in her life.
  4. Brant hoped to see the dawn of a new day.
  5. When I was young, I hoped to become a singer.
  6. My teachers hoped I had progressed in my math skills, but I failed.
  7. I hoped to make my parents proud, but they were just disappointed in me.
  8. I hoped I would never see you again.
  9. I hoped you would return, but you left me hanging.
  10. I hoped to be a surgeon one day, but I wasn’t good at studying.

When Should I Use ‘I Am Hoping?’

‘I am hoping’ means the speaker wishes or wants something to be the case. ‘I am hoping’ is in the present continuous, and we use it for moments where hope is currently happening or is currently applicable. It is ‘hope’ for the moment and the now.

An example of this would be ‘I am hoping that things will change soon,’ where the speaker is currently hoping, at the moment, that things will change. It is different from ‘I was hoping that things would change’ since the continuous past speaks more of a past action.

What Is The Difference Between ‘I Was Hoping’ And ‘I Had Hoped?’

‘I was hoping’ and ‘I had hoped’ differ in their tenses. ‘I was hoping’ is in past continuous tense, which we use to describe more transitory actions. ‘I had hoped’ is in the past perfect tense, which we use to describe a completed action, followed by another event.

Since ‘I was hoping’ is in past continuous, we use it for moments where hope is immediate and momentary. It also means that ‘hoping’ may still be happening at the moment.

Compared to ‘I had hoped,’ which is in past perfect. So, it means the speaker finished ‘hoping’ as another event took place. An example of this would be ‘I had hoped for him to pursue medicine when he entered college, but he chose humanities.’ Here, the action of ‘hoping’ finished as another event took place, which is entering college.

Is It Ever Correct To Use ‘I Had Been Hoping?’

‘I had been hoping’ is grammatically correct, but it is only appropriate for specific situations. ‘I had been hoping’ is in past perfect continuous, and we use this for instances where we indicate a past action that the subject started some time before and just finished at a recent time.

An example of this would be, ‘I had been hoping to get a high score when our teacher posted the list of grades.’ The sentence means that in the past, ‘I’ was hoping to get a high score. But, that ‘hope’ stopped just when the teacher posted the marks.