Write It Right, Say It Right 63 Hopefully Hopefully is an adverb meaning "in a hopeful manner." It should not be used to mean "I hope" or "it is hoped," as in "Hopefully, Congress will decide not to enact the bill." In that sentence there is nothing for hopefully to modify. The only verb is decide and certainly the sentence is not meant to say that Congress will decide "in a hopeful manner." As another example, "Hopefully, she looked at the numbers on her lottery ticket" is not the same as "She looked hopefully at the numbers on her lottery ticket." Imply/infer Imply means to convey an impression by what you say or do; infer means to draw a conclusion from what you hear or see. You do not infer while speaking; nor do you imply while listening. For example: "In his speech, the senator implied that he would vote for the legislation." "From what the senator said, I inferred that he would vote for the legislation." Important/importantly Importantly is an adverb and should not be used except to modify a verb. In a sentence such as "Most importantly, we completed the project on time," the only verb is completed. Because "impor- tantly completed" is nonsensical, it is obvious there is no verb for importantly to modify. Although some authorities do accept either word in such sentences, important is the better choice. Some speakers and writers, even experienced ones, use importantly rather than important , perhaps be-