On 9 June 1942, Lord Wedgwood opened the debate in the British House of Lords by alleging that Britain had reneged on its commitments and urging that the League of Nations mandate over Palestine be transferred to the USA. He stated with bitterness: "I hope yet to live to see those who sent the Struma cargo back to the Nazis hung as high as Haman cheek by jowl with their prototype and Führer, Adolf Hitler". (Source)

  1. How does yet change the meaning of this sentence? I don't perceive any difference if it be omitted?

  2. Which definition does it match? Here, yet modifies 'hope' so it functions as an adverb. Yet, definitions 1, 2, 3 all look correct to me.

4 Answers 4


The key lies in the context given prior to the quote: Lord Wedgewood alleged that Britain had reneged on its commitments, and then he spoke the quoted phrase with bitterness. He is disappointed with how things have turned out so far. But even though he is disappointed, in spite of his disappointment, he still hopes that he will see the outcome that he desires eventually.

Thus definition 3 at your link (3: In spite of that; nevertheless) is the relevant meaning.

The statement is a rebuke of Britain's inaction; it says "Britain was supposed to do this good and necessary thing. Britain failed. But I still have hope that someone else will step up and do it." But if we leave out the yet, it takes away some of his bitterness, turning the statement from a rebuke into a much more neutral call for action, saying essentially "here is a good and necessary thing. I hope someone will step up and do it."

  • What's the causality though? To be in spite of you need to have a reason, for example he hopes to live despite illness? The sentence does not seem to imply an "in spite of" on the "yet". If the "to live" part was taken out I would agree but the sense of him living and the position of yet before the "to live" means that "in spite of" everything he expects justice but hopes to live to the day it will be done
    – Sammaye
    Aug 1, 2014 at 7:59
  • "Live to see" is an idiomatic phrase; it does not imply that the speaker expects to die soon or has health issues or any such thing, it simply adds emphasis to the desirability (or undesirability) of the thing being seen. "I never thought I'd live to see the day when telling the truth was a crime", for example.
    – Hellion
    Aug 1, 2014 at 14:10

"Yet" here means "still, in the future." Since the word "hope" carries with it the idea of future events, it isn't necessary - it simply makes the future-ness of the statement explicit.

Sometimes, when "yet" is used in this context, it also carries a context of "in spite of," for instance Job 13:15, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face." However, this usage is a bit antiquated.


Of that link the first one seems most plausible in native English:

Up until the present or a specified or implied time; by now or then:

He is still hoping that he will live to that time, or as some say, "I hope to see the day"

As for changing, I agree that it does not, it is like a semi adjective, used to convey an emotion to the reader of desparity/resilience really.


Here yet has nothing to do with hope, it is used with the following sense:

I hope [nothing] but to live to see…


I hope only to live to see…

  • 1
    Wait, you say it has nothing to do with hope but you use sentences which revolve around hope to explain your point?
    – Sammaye
    Jul 31, 2014 at 16:56
  • @Sammaye, hope is a surrounding context. It's but to live, only to live, still to live, or at least that's the way I see it. I don't see it as "he still hopes", but he hopes that still to live. Aug 1, 2014 at 5:06
  • 1
    Since it is a English man saying this they are actually analogous, saying "I hope that still to live" means, in a longer, more emotional manner, that you essentially hope to live; you are hoping to still be alive.
    – Sammaye
    Aug 1, 2014 at 7:25

You must log in to answer this question.