Speaking about hopes in English

There are a number of expressions you can use to show your hopes and preferences – either for the long-term future, or for the more immediate future.

Hopes for the long-term future

Here are some useful expressions for speaking about what you would like to happen in your life, or for the changes you’d like to see.

In an ideal world, I’d … ( … I’d have a great job and a big family.)

In an ideal world, there … (… there would be peace / there wouldn’t be any wars.)

It would be great / fantastic / wonderful if …. (… if everyone could get along.)

In the long-term, I’m hoping …
Follow either with an infinitive or a “that” clause.
“In the long-term, I’m hoping to go to university.”
“In the long-term, I’m hoping that I will become a doctor.”

I’ve always hoped for (+ noun)
“I’ve always hoped for a good job.”

I’ve always dreamed of …. (+ ing)
“I’ve always dreamed of becoming an astronaut.

Hopes for the near future

I’m hoping for … (+ noun)
“I’m hoping for a new cell phone for my birthday.”

I’m hoping to get …
“I’m hoping to get a new phone.”

I would like…
“I would like to go on a round-the-world trip.”
(The short form of “I would like” is “I’d like”.)

Remember: you can follow “I would like / I’d like” with either a noun or a verb.
“I’d like to go away for Christmas.”

I really want… (Using “want” can be impolite unless you are talking to a close friend or family member.)

Something I’ve always wanted is…

I’d be delighted / over the moon if…
“I’d be delighted if you gave me a new watch.”

Remember: the verb following “if” should be in the past tense, as you are talking about a hypothetical situation. This means that it looks like a second conditional sentence. (See If sentences for more information about conditionals.)

What I’d like more than anything else is…

On my Christmas wish list is…


I’d rather have … (+ noun)
“I’d rather have tickets to the opera.”

Remember: you can follow this with a comparison:
“I’d rather have tickets to the opera than tickets to the theatre.”)

I’d rather you … (+ simple past)
“I’d rather you saved your money.”

I’d prefer (+ noun)
“I’d prefer some money for the new house.”

Remember: after “prefer” the preposition is “to”:
“I’d prefer some money for the house to tickets for the opera.”

I’d prefer it if you … (+ simple past)
“I’d prefer it if you gave some money to charity.”

….. would be more suitable / would be better
“A learning toy would be better for Ronnie than money.”

If I had a choice, I would go for… (+ noun)
(“Go for” means “choose between a number of options)

If it’s all the same to you, ….
“If it’s all the same to you, I’d like some book tokens.”