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How Would You Describe the Difference Between a Hope, a Wish, and a Dream (In-Depth Explanation)

How Would You Describe the Difference Between a Hope, a Wish, and a Dream (In-Depth Explanation)

The three concepts might seem similar to a lot of people as they are often used in quite similar scenarios. However, they have some differences between them that might even change how you use them in your daily life.

Dreaming, wishing, and hoping all three are a part of human nature, they make us set apart from animals. Humans are very fragile and these little things help us in moving forward.

Understanding the difference between the three will not only help you in perceiving things in your life but will also make you stronger as it will help you in knowing which of these beliefs is not good for you.

In this article, you will be going through a complete explanation of any major differences between a hope a wish, and a dream. I hope that by the end of this article you will gather awareness about these three terms.

What Is the Meaning of a Dream?

A dream is a series of events or pictures our subconscious mind plays regarding our everyday life. Another way to describe a dream is a goal or an ambition one tends to achieve. It is something you wish would become true one day. A dream is what gives a person a reason to look ahead and makes him thrive further. But it’s good to remember that dreams come at a cost and require you to work hard to make them true.

“Dream are not what you see in sleep, it is the thing which doesn’t let you sleep.”

A.P.J Abdul Kalam

An example to make things easier would be, that I wish to be an amazing writer one day. This is something I aspire to become and to make that happen I will work hard and one day, my dream will come true. It’s important to remember that dreams are free, you aren’t bound to anything. To dream is to live.

What Is the Meaning of a Wish?

A wish is to feel or express a strong desire to achieve something that can’t happen or most probably will not happen. Wishing is trying to achieve something that is in your head or your fantasy, such a thing is impossible but people still wish to make themselves feel good.

Wishing can also help you in moving forward but those wishes have to be realistic. However, wishes aren’t meant to be realistic and that is what makes them a bad belief to have in your life. Such fantasies allow a person to escape reality momentarily.

Another way to use wish in a sentence would be to wish someone else happiness or prosperity. In that case, you are expressing your desire or your longing for them to be happy.

“Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.”

Washington Irving

Let’s take an example to have a more clear understanding of this.

Sophia wishes to start all over again. She is not satisfied with the way she has lived her life so far. Now she has a strong desire to achieve more in life if she could get the same amount of time again.

What Is the Meaning of Hope?

What is hope?

Hope is to expect a positive outcome for something. It helps you in moving forward as a positive hope motivates you to go further in life. Everyone hopes for something to come true as it’s a part of human nature. If you hope for something to happen then you usually believe that there is a chance of this becoming a part of your reality.

Hope helps you get through the worst as it enables you to look forward to a bright future despite all the worst circumstances. Hope can arrive only when you recognize that there are real options and that you have genuine choices.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Desmond Tutu

An example of this would be; that you got estranged from your best friend. But now you are desperately missing and hoping for a reunion. You are hoping that your friend also feels the same.

What Are the Differences Between a Hope, a Wish, and a Dream


Dreams are goals that we aspire to achieve in life.
We make every effort to make our dreams a reality.
Dreams are difficult to accomplish and require a long time to fulfill.
Dreams motivate you to achieve long-term objectives.
Examples: To get a Ph.D., to become an award-winning actor
Wishes are wants for certain events to occur.
We rarely act on our wishes.
Wishes tend to be more simple in nature
Wishes rarely motivate you to achieve your objectives.
Examples: Good health, sunny weather, etc

The term “hope” refers to the potential of something occurring.
We don’t normally go out of our way to follow our hopes.
Hope is usually of a simpler nature
Hope isn’t usually what motivates you to achieve your objectives
Example: I’m hoping to finish my task before the deadline.

Hope vs. Wish vs. Dream

These are the major differences between a hope a dream and a wish. All three have their own set of differences, let’s take a detailed look at the major ones.


If your dreams are big you definitely have to put the effort into them. To make our dreams come true, we work hard and we tend to do everything in our power to make them come true. Nobody is going to help you with achieving your dream, it’s up to you to work on your dreams.

On the other hand, we don’t work hard to make our wishes come true as they’re just sitting in the back of our heads and they usually stay there in our imaginary world.

Furthermore, hope is something also we do not work hard for, but we believe it has a chance of being true and we always believe it will become a reality.


Dreams are long-term goals that take quite a while to achieve. Dreams are basically what we want to happen in our life for an excessive period and to make it happen we devote our time to it.

Wishes, on the other hand, are straightforward because they do not demand any devotion. They’re just simple ideas that stay with you for a long time.

Hope is also relatively simple because it does not require hard effort, but it does demand a significant amount of faith. Only when you feel that what you do can make a difference, that your activities can lead to a future that is different from the present, can hope to flourish.

Girl hoping for luck
Why are dreams, wishes, and hopes important?

Importance of Dreams, Wishes, and Hopes

Dreams play a major part in your life as they make you passionate about achieving your lifelong goals and help you in working hard in making that dream of yours a reality.

Wishes don’t play a major part in our life as they are something we can’t achieve. We wish for something that isn’t in our control and because of this we can’t change it.

Hope plays a major role in life as it helps you in going through the worst by becoming a beacon of light and positivity. Whether it comes from faith in God and belief in a hereafter, or from a personal philosophy that gives purpose to life and mortality, hope is at the core of healing.

Similarities Between Wish, Dream, and Hope

  • Hope and dream are quite similar as they overlap each other’s paths quite often.
  • We wish to achieve something and work hard to get it, but to progress, we must hope for the best.
  • Whatever our dream is will one day most certainly come true if we keep high hopes.
  • Hope and dream are quite connected and a person needs both of them to move forward in life.
  • Without a dream or a goal is like living a meaningless life
  • If you don’t have a purpose then you lose hope and become stranded
  • Wishing isn’t similar to both hope and dream as wishing isn’t something that would happen
  • Wishing is a good thing but without hard work and struggle you would not get anywhere
  • Wishing can drown you in your thoughts

My Takeaway

Dreaming is a constant process that our human body goes through, even in our sleep, our subconscious mind tells us about things we wish for. I think everybody should have the freedom to dream but they should work hard for it. I dream a lot of things but I believe that I need to focus on one thing and give it my best to make it come true.

Hoping allows you to keep moving forward in life, everybody goes through a dark time in life. Even I have been in a constant battle with myself. However, I always hoped that one day I would come out of it and witness the rising sun.

I believe a lot in the process of hoping as it helps you move forward in life. Hoping has allowed me to achieve my dreams.

Everybody wishes, right? I mean I still do, wishes are also something we tend to set up in our minds. Wishes are something that can’t be achieved. I mean I wish to go back to my childhood, this is something I can never have but I still keep it in my head. In my opinion, wishing is a bad thing as we tend to indulge ourselves in wishing for something good but we never actually work towards achieving it.

wish vs hope


All three are a part of human nature and each has its importance. There aren’t any major differences between a wish, a dream, and a hope and they all are just expressions we make up in our minds and heart.

It’s important to have an understanding of these three terms, as they have their unique set of similarities and differences. These differences and similarities are something one should be aware of as they play a major part in our life.

The three concepts are quite similar in terms of their basic outline but if we dive deep into them we start to uncover things that make them set apart like their importance, nature, and more.

After reading this article, it’s good to sit down and think about how you used to view all three of them before going through this article as in my case it changed how I used to think of them.

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