Hope Is Not a Verb

“Hope” is a wonderful thing and a powerful word. We are instructed over and over, in the wisdom of others, to never lose it. To hold it and cling to it.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)

“I was never crippled until I lost hope. Believe me, the loss of hope is far worse than the loss of limbs.” Nick Vujicic

“To be without hope is like being without goals, what are you working towards?” Catherine Pulsifer

The word galvanizes people, defeats pessimism, releases dreams, supports the down-trodden, and inspires the heart. It is, without argument, a very powerful word.

As a noun, it is a passive word, representing an object not an action. Its definition is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”. It shares the same definition as the word ‘wish’, “a desire or hope for something to happen.” So, a hope is a wish and a wish a hope. It could easily fit, just as well, with the words: dream, aspiration, desire, longing, yearning, etc.

If you look up the definition, you will also see it is categorized as a verb. A word of action, just as all the suggested synonyms are as well. It reads:


hopes (third person present) · hoped (past tense) · hoped (past participle) · hoping (present participle)

 1.     want something to happen or be the case.

“he’s hoping for an offer of compensation” · “I hope that the kids are OK”

synonyms: expect · anticipate · look for · wait for · be hopeful of · pin one’s hopes on · want · wish for · dream of · hope against hope for

antonyms: despair of

 ·         intend, if possible, to do something.

“we’re hoping to address all these issues”

synonyms: aim · intend · be looking · have the/every intention · have in mind · plan · aspire

 And in that way, maybe we are led to believe that hoping, or wishing, or dreaming is active and just as important, if not more, than its sibling, the noun. That we are doing something, even though it is as passive as any other feeling or thought that sits in our minds. Those thoughts well our souls, bring light to the dark, give reprieve from the harshness of life. They are buoyant in the deep waters of despair or pain.

But they are not action. And taking action is the only thing that will make all those hopes pass from rose-colored hues to reality in our own lives. If we can hope, wish, or dream, then we must surely see that whatever they aspire to, it must be accompanied by action. Just wishing something so, never suffices. We must do.

Yes, dream big, aspire to greatness, wish for more, and hope beyond reason. But labor to the fruition of those desires. Give momentum to your aims. Push them past the trap of good intentions. Act in search of their reality.

If not, what value can they possibly hold?

3 Responses to “Hope Is Not a Verb”
  1. Verbs are very important for language development because they allow children to start building sentences. The choice of the verb determines the grammatical form in a sentence.

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