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From Middle French and Old French esperer, from Vulgar Latin *espērāre, from Latin spērāre, present active infinitive of spērō ‎(hope, expect), from Proto-Indo-European *speh₁- ‎(to prosper, to turn out well).




  1. (intransitive) to hope
    J’espère réussir.‎ ― I hope to succeed.
    J’espère qu’il viendra bientôt.‎ ― I hope he will come soon.
  2. (transitive) to hope for
    J’espère un succès rapide.‎ ― I hope for quick success
  3. (intransitive) to have faith, to trust (with en ‎(in))
    Il faut espérer.‎ ― You must have faith.
    Il faut espérer en Dieu.‎ ― You must trust in God.


  • This verb is conjugated like céder. It is a regular -er verb, except that its last stem vowel alternates between /e/ (written ‘é’) and /ɛ/ (written ‘è’), with the latter being used before mute ‘e’.
  • One special case is the future stem, used in the future and the conditional. Before 1990, the future stem of such verbs was written espérer-, reflecting the historic pronunciation /e/. In 1990, the French Academy recommended that it be written espèrer-, reflecting the now common pronunciation /ɛ/, thereby making this distinction consistent throughout the conjugation (and also matching in this regard the conjugations of verbs like lever and jeter). Both spellings are in use today, and both are therefore given here.

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