Tuesday, February 19

I Don't Hope So?

A: Do you think it’s ok to ride a motorcycle without a helmet?

B: I don’t think so.

Most learners are familiar with the expression “I don’t think so.” But do you know how these words really work?

Let’s study them deeper…

Don’t Repeat

So” is used when we don’t want to repeat something.

This means that, for example, if your friend asks you:

Q: Do you think that Obama is a good President?

Instead of repeating the whole Noun Clause (“that Obama is a good president”), you can use “so.” This way:

Q: Do you think that Obama is a good president?

A: Yes, I think that Obama is a good President.= X

A: Yes, I think so. = Ok

This is because it is very unnatural in English to repeat the same words. You would sound like a parrot:

Q: Do you think that it’s going to rain?

A: Yes, I think that it’s going to rain. = X

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As much as possible, native speakers avoid using the same words by using “So,” Helping Verbs, and other Vocabulary.


Instead of repeating:

Q: Do you think that it’s going to rain?

A: Yes, I think that it’s going to rain. = X

You should say:

A: I think so. (=So)

A: I do. (=Helping Verb)

A: That’s the forecast. (=other Vocabulary)

Agreeing and Disagreeing

This is why “So” is very useful and common in English. You will use it especially when you are agreeing or disagreeing with someone.

For example, you can agree this way:

A: I think she’s pretty.

B: I think so too. =Ok


A: I think the test was very easy.

B: I don’t think so. =Ok


A: I don’t think we’re late.

B: I don’t think so either. =Ok

Or simply,

B: I don’t either. =Ok

Note: If you want to know the difference between “too” and “either,” kindly click the link below:

Other Expressions

Do you know that there are expressions you can use other than “I think so” and “I don’t think so”?

Here are they are:

I expect so.

I suppose so.

I hope so.

I guess so.

I’m afraid so.

All these expressions are necessary because we shouldn’t keep on using only “I think so.”

And sometimes, the situation requires a sharper expression. In some cases, “I think so” might be too general.

Take a look:

Q: Do you think it’s going to be sunny tomorrow?

A: I expect so.

(= I already saw the weather forecast)

A: I hope so.

(= Because we are planning to go to the beach)

Q: Is she gonna join us?

A: I suppose so.

(= this is what I believe)

A: I guess so.

(=I’m not so sure)

Q: Have we run out of gas / petrol?

A: I’m afraid so.

(=I’m sorry to admit it but it’s true)

As you can see from our examples, it’s much better to practice many various expressions and not to be limited with only one.

At the same time, the expressions don’t really mean the same.

I Don’t Hope So?

Do you remember the 2 meanings of the word “afraid”?

(If you want a quick review, just click this link:

If you are using the word “afraid” with the meaning of scared or frightened, this is its negative form:


I am afraid of ghosts.

I am not afraid of ghosts.

But be careful, we use “afraid” differently when its meaning is “I’m sorry” or polite expression. Take a look:


I am afraid I forgot your name.


Simply put, we can’t make the Verbafraid(meaning: I’m sorry) negative. Instead, we change the Noun Clause inside it:

I’m afraid I do not remember your name.  =Ok

As you can see in our example, the Noun Clause (that…) becomes negative but the Main Verb of the sentence (afraid) can’t become negative.

Here are more examples:

I’m afraid I don’t have any money. =Ok

I’m afraid I can’t help you. =Ok

And the short version of both sentences is:

I’m afraid not. (=Ok)

The same rule is true with “hope.”

I don’t hope that it will rain. = X

I hope it won’t rain. = Ok

Again, here is the short version:

I hope not. =Ok

So the negative form “I don’t hope so” is wrong. Instead we use “I hope not.”

Lastly, you should follow the same rule for “guess” :

I don’t guess so. =X

I guess not. =Ok

Negative Forms

In summary, here are the negative forms of all our expressions:


I think so.

I don’t think so.
I expect so.

I don’t expect so.
I suppose so.

I don’t suppose so. (Or, I suppose not.)
I hope so.

I hope not.
I guess so.

I guess not.
I’m afraid so.

I’m afraid not.

Hope You Learned Something! 

Keep on learning !

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