Rihanna’s Grammar

English: Rihanna at the 2009 American Music Aw...

English: Rihanna at the 2009 American Music Award Red Carpet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s New York Times Magazine had a blurb about a school in São Paulo, Brazil that has a novel way of teaching English. Here’s the article in its entirety:


“Hi, @rihanna. I love your songs. My name is Carolina. I’m 11 years old,” began the tweet, which went on to correct Rihanna’s grammar. “It’s not to she, it’s to her,” Carolina wrote. Her tweet was part of an initiative at the Red Balloon School in São Paulo to teach English by correcting celebrities’ sloppy Twitterish. “So far no celeb has replied,” the school has said. “Hopefully they’re busy learning English.”

I could be a pedant and point out that the person who wrote that message for the school used “Hopefully” incorrectly. As written, it means that the celebrities are hopeful when, in fact, it is the school’s participants in this program who hope they will get a reply. But I have given up on this use of “hopefully”; common usage has emerged victorious.


Filed under All things having to do with the English language

3 responses to “Rihanna’s Grammar

  1. ‘Hopefully’ used as an adverb at the beginning of a sentence is considered by many authorities to be quite acceptable. Other adverbs used in a similar way (as an ‘attiudinal adverb’) include: confidentially, frankly, honestly, luckily, naturaly, surprisingly, and thankfully.


    • You’re right, Pamela, in that “hopefully” has been turned into an adverb modifying the entire sentence instead of being an adverb modifying a verb the way it was previously used. It still catches my attention though. I need to chill. Hopefully, I will.


  2. echo

    ‘Hopefully’ should have had a comma after it.
    A missing or misplaced comma can make a big difference.. Remember: ‘Let’s eat, grandma’ is not the same as ‘Let’s eat grandma.’
    And then there’s the panda, which eats, shoots and leaves. Or was that ‘eats shoots and leaves’?
    Love your postings!
    A friend sent me the link for ‘paraprosdokians’. Sheer genius!


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