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How do I say I hope it doesn't rain and lightning today?

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    My two cents - I hope there's no rain or lightning today. Keeping your 'rain' and 'lightning' as two separate words. :) – Maulik V Sep 19 '14 at 4:39
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    @Maulik - The problem with rain or lightning is that it doesn't quite mean the same thing. "I hope there's no rain or lightning" means "I hope there's no rain AND I hope there's no lightning." That's a good option if that's what you're trying to say, but, if you're mostly hoping there's no lighting, there are better ways to say it – and I think that might be at the core of what the O.P. is asking about. – J.R. Sep 19 '14 at 9:22
  • @J.R. I simply love the word thunderstorm and also what all happens in it! I tried to keep those two words intact to provide the OP freedom to choose between rain and lighting! And yes, I did mean what you guessed! – Maulik V Sep 19 '14 at 9:48
  • Judy, please provide more detail about what situation gave rise to this question and what exactly you’d like to express. – Tyler James Young Sep 19 '14 at 19:08
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    This question does bring up an interesting point: Why is "There is lightning" okay, but "It doesn't lightning" not okay? – F.E. Sep 19 '14 at 19:48
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Rain with lightning is called a thunderstorm. From CDO:

thunderstorm (noun) a storm with thunder and lightning and usually heavy rain

So, you could say:

I hope there are no thunderstorms today.


Other variations are possible, depending on the context. For example, if I was organizing a golf tournament, I might say:

I don't mind a little drizzle, but I hope the lightning holds off.

From the same dictionary:

hold off (phrasal verb) to stop something from happening, or to be delayed: I hope the rain holds off until we get home

7

Preliminary Note: With so little information about the specific nature of your question (in fact it has been closed, pending provision of details/context), I’ll do my best to present multiple views. The following range of options will more or less follow two progressions simultaneously, beginning with constructions that are closer to your original statement and likeliest to sound strangest to people and ending with more common sayings that are based on grammatical structures that vary to a greater degree.

Stars (‘
’) indicate non-standard English.


1. ✳ “I hope it doesn’t rain and lightning today.”

The statement, as you present it, is grammatically valid and can be understood. So why doesn’t this phrasing doesn’t appear anywhere else on the internet or in Google’s corpus of written English? It combines a non-standard verb use of “lightning” with an arguably never-used “it”/[weather] pairing.

  • Using “lightning” as a verb is uncommon (read more in this debate on our sister site, ELU), but does appear in dictionaries.
  • Possibly associated with this dearth of its use as a verb, it sounds very strange to use “lightning” with the subject “it”. For whatever reason, it seems as though this is simply not done.

2. ✳ “I hope it doesn’t storm today.”

Rain and lightning occurring together can be described as a storm (and, less ambiguously, as a thunderstorm). “Storm” can be used as a verb (see this ODO definition), but this presents basically the same problems as the first option (though this one does seem at least a little more acceptable).

  • “Storm” combines the ideas of rain and lightning, but does so somewhat fuzzily (you’d likely be understood from context, but there are other interpretations possible).

  • “Storm” as a weather verb is rare.

  • Similar to previous option, most English speakers will find this combination of “it” and an uncommon weather verb very strange (if they don’t completely disallow it).

3. “I hope there’s no rain or lightning today.”

Shifting to a less specialized construction opens a lot of doors. When you start a sentence with “I hope there is/isn’t. . .”, you can start listing pretty much whatever phenomena you like in noun form, certainly including “rain” and “lightning”. Just make sure the counts are the same (e.g. all mass nouns) and match the form of the existence verb you picked (“is”, “are”, etc.). Notice that I’ve also changed “and” to “or” to form a freely combined list of things I don’t want.

  • This format has much broader utility (and correspondingly wider acceptance).

  • “Lightning” has much more (perhaps infinitely more) acceptance as a noun than as a verb.

  • This construction allows the use of the nicely specific noun “thunderstorm”:

3.a. “I hope there aren’t any(/isn’t a) thunderstorms(/thunderstorm) today.”

This selection of verb and noun subject is probably the best expression of what you want to say.

Choose between reference to one or many storms based on context. If I were talking about a brief outing I had planned, I might say “I hope there isn’t a thunderstorm” to indicate an appropriately limited scope to my statement. If, on the other hand, I were talking about pets or livestock I planned to leave outdoors all day I might instead say “I hope there aren’t (any) thunderstorms” to align my statement with the possibility that any number of storms could occur and pose a problem for me and my animals.

4. “I hope it isn’t stormy today.”

Shifting back to using “it” as a subject, you could change the verb that follows to one of bare existence and then describe that existence with any number of adjectives. ✳ “Lightning-y” is unusably awkward (extremely non-standard), but “rainy” and “stormy” are both fine.

  • This option is less flexible than previous ones, probably because our names for weather phenomena don’t always have a commonly used adjective form.

  • This is probably how I would say it, possibly because I (believe it or not) prefer the economy of compact expressions like this one in my speech.


This list is by no means comprehensive. There are still myriad other ways to express sentiments similar to that of your original statement, but hopefully the above will give you some idea of the landscape of the language and what considerations might enter into such a choice.

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    Your last suggestion is the only correct; natural sounding one. You cannot say "I hope it doesn't lightning". – OJFord Sep 18 '14 at 22:17
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    As you wish, but I shall laugh in response. – OJFord Sep 18 '14 at 22:21
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    -1 because the first recommendation you gave is not common English and is completely different in that way to "I hope it doesn't rain today". It would sound foreign to me to hear "I hope it doesn't storm today", despite that fact that the phrase "That night it stormed again" is fine. It simply isn't "natural" English to use the verb "storm" with "it" as a subject, nor the word "lightning" (which doesn't even have a legitimate place as a verb). Verbs that are commonly used with the subject of "it" are "rain", "hail", "snow" - interestingly the "falling" things. That's just the way it is. – GreenAsJade Sep 19 '14 at 1:42
  • @GreenAsJade With so little context, I decided to meet the desired construction of the OP as closely as possible before branching out into more natural-sounding expressions of the same sentiment. Based on your feedback, I’m going to edit in more usage notes. I happen to think “I hope it doesn’t storm today” sounds native enough, if perhaps a little quaint, but I’ll make it clearer that the later examples are more representative of modern speech (broadly defined). . . .I don’t quite follow your logic of it being fine for it to have stormed last night but not fine to hope it doesn’t storm today. – Tyler James Young Sep 19 '14 at 15:17
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    @GreenAsJade I find it entirely common and conventional, here in the Mid-Atlantic United States (grew up in Southern California). I might ask Is it supposed to rain today? and get a response like It's going to rain, but it's not supposed to storm, or It's going to rain, but it's only supposed to shower. It is true that I have not heard it for all weather phenomena— it doesn't hurricane outside— but I am truly surprised to see so many find it unusual. – choster Sep 19 '14 at 20:44
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Since rain and lightning are associated with storms, we could say:

"I hope there is no storm today."

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The most conventional expression is, "I hope it doesn't thunder and lightning today." The two usually go together, and are an order of magnitude "worse" than rain.

  • I can find no evidence to support that using “lightning” as a verb is conventional, least of all with the subject “it”. “Thunder and lightning” certainly go together, but that makes an unwarranted, unreasoned assumption about the semantic intentions of the OP (which, granted, we cannot know until OP provides more detail). Lastly, there are a great many situations in which hearing thunder would not be “‘worse’” than being soaked by rain. – Tyler James Young Sep 19 '14 at 19:05

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