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Could anyone help me understand differences in nuance/meaning between 'I hope you will spend some time with me', and 'I want to spend some time with you'.

closed as off-topic by tchrist Feb 7 at 4:29

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    Unfortunately I'm flagging this as off-topic ("no research / ELL"). Sunflower, it's important to look up a dictionary before you ask this kind of question here, as it will often provide the solution. Our Help Centre says "Be sure to mention the research you've done and what you're still hoping to learn!" For further guidance, see How to Ask and take the EL&U Tour :-) – Chappo Feb 6 at 6:52
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"I hope" implies "I want," but it also signals a willingness to let the addressee make the decision. Fans of H.P. Grice will recognize the dual implicature: I want to spend time with you and I acknowledge a certain social relationship between us. As the linked material puts it, "Implicature serves a variety of goals beyond communication: maintaining good social relations ...and verbal efficiency."

An even more deferential form might be "I hope you will want/decide/choose/be willing to spend some time with me. The more semantically unnecessary words are used, the more deferential the sentence sounds. It's as if hesitancy to ask is communicated by how long it takes to get to the question.

  • Dear remarkl, thank you for your explanation. I understood that the person who says the first sentence is willing to let the other person make the decision. – Sunflower Feb 6 at 6:26
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(1a) I hope you will spend some time with me. [Original example]

(2a) I want you to spend some time with me.

(1b) ?I hope I will spend some time with you.

(2b) I want to spend some time with you. [Original example]

If you want to compare 'hope' and 'want', I think you should be comparing (1a) and (2a) or (1b) and (2b), not (1a) and (2b) as you did.

Note that (1b) sounds awkward, because it's unlikely that you can hope what you yourself will do. Thus, the only plausible comparison would be between (1a) and (2a).

The verb 'hope' I think conveys a less direct meaning than the verb 'want'. So if you'd like to make it more direct, choose (2a) over (1a), but if you'd like to make it less direct, choose (1a) over (2a).

  • Dear JK2, thank you for your explanation. I wasn't trying to compare 'want' and 'hope'. This is from someone I like. He used to say something like 'I miss you', 'I want to see you' and 'I want to spend more time with you' but now he became a bit distant and started to use this 'I hope you will...' and 'I hope you ....'. That's why I wanted to know the differences in nuance or meaning when people start using such expressions. Thank you. – Sunflower Feb 6 at 6:31

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