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While taking an online test, I came across this question that confused me for a while.

I ______ it doesn't rain tomorrow, I'm going for a picnic.

A. wait
B. expect
C. hope
D. wish

I clicked hope but unfortunately, the site gives the result and not the answer.

Question: Whilst it is beyond doubt that neither A nor B is correct and C looks perfect, D does not look totally wrong.

Is wish possible there? In any circumstances? Do we wish something negative? And yes, did I click on the correct option?

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1 Answer 1

In this case, wish is semantically but not grammatically correct. Hope is the correct answer.

You can absolutely wish that something wouldn't happen in the future. This conveys a meaning very similar to hope, but suggests that you think the desired negative circumstance (e.g. not raining) is rather unlikely.

In the example, wish is not correct, because I wish it doesn't rain is ungrammatical. You should use wouldn't with wish when talking about future circumstances. Couldn't also works, if you're wishing for a denial of any capability, but that doesn't make much sense when talking about weather.

Here's an example of a common usage of wishing for something negative:

I wish you wouldn't do that.

This is said to someone exhibiting some habitual and unpleasant behavior as a polite way of asking them to stop doing it, both now and in the future.

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never thought it that way. Maybe, non-native's limitations ;) +1 –  Maulik V Jul 17 at 6:19
2  
But "I wish it wouldn't rain tomorrow" has an interesting semantic twist: I can only say that if I am fairly sure that it will rain tomorrow. I am wishing that it would be different. The original sentence has no such prescient quality at all. –  oerkelens Jul 17 at 7:31
    
Is their a particular reason that hope/doesn't go together and wish/wouldn't do? I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow, I wish it wouldn't rain tomorrow. I feel it may have something to do with @oerkelens point, hope sounds like you have no clue about the chances, but wish sounds like you think the opposite is goign to happen. –  Tom Hart Jul 17 at 13:01
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@Tom Good question; it is related to oerkelens' remark. A wish is necessarily hypothetical, so it requires an irrealis verb like would or could. Did is realis and it doesn't make sense to wish for something that's materialized already. –  Esoteric Screen Name Jul 17 at 15:54

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