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J’espère means “I hope”.

Unlike in English, you can’t use this phrase on its own. Instead, it either has to be tacked on at the end of a statement, or slightly modified to be a standalone statement.

J’espère can be used on its own at the end of statement that refers to a specific issue or action (as opposed to a general question or statement). For instance: Tu as acheté du café, j’espère. (You bought coffee, I hope.) vs. J’espère que tu aimes les chats. (I hope you like cats.)

As in English, using j’espère at the end of a statement can sound a bit demanding or rude, although of course context and tone might change that. Still, it’s best to be careful if you use this. Instead, you can opt for the more general and common use of j’espère, placing it at the start of a statement and following it with que, as you can see in the second example sentence.

If you use j’espère (or any present-tense conjugation of espérer) followed by que, note that in some cases, the verb in the phrase that follows will have to be conjugated in the subjunctive tense.

The general rule is that if j’espère que is used with an affirmative statement, it’s conjugated in whatever non-subjunctive tense is appropriate. For instance, in the sentence J’espère que tu aimes les chats, the verb aimer is conjugated in the present simple tense. Or in the sentence J’espère quil viendra, the verb venir is conjugated in the future simple tense.

But if J’espère que (or any present-tense conjugation of espoir) is used in a negative statement or a question, the verb in the phrase that follows it must be conjugated in the subjunctive tense. For instance: J’espère que vous ne détestiez pas les chats. (I hope that you don’t hate cats). It’s almost impossible to use j’espère que in an interrogative sense, but just know that if it were used this way, you’d have to have a subjunctive verb in the phrase that followed it!

You may sometimes see or hear the phrase Je l’espère. This means “I hope for it/I hope so”. For instance: Tu penses qu’il t’aime ? – Je l’espère de tout cœur. (“Do you think he loves you?” “I hope so, with all my heart.”). Unlike J’espère, Je l’espère can be a standalone phrase. For example: Elle sera là ce soir ?Je l’espère. (“Will she be there tonight?” “I hope (so).”


  • I hope

Alternative forms

Example sentence

Il t’a acheté un cadeau d’anniversaire, j’espère.

He bought you a birthday gift, I hope.

J’espère que vous aimez les films d’horreur.

I hope you like scary movies.

– Tu penses que nous verrons une baleine lors de notre excursion ?

– Je l’espère.

“Do you think we’ll see a whale during our whale watching trip?”

“I hope so.”

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