Among the sins that set Mr. Newman’s teeth articulately on edge were these: all jargon; idiosyncratic spellings like “Amtrak”; the non-adverbial use of “hopefully” (he was said to have had a sign in his office reading, "Abandon 'Hopefully' All Ye Who Enter Here" ... and using a preposition to end a sentence with.This "Abandon 'Hopefully'" tidbit was new to me; the anti-hopefully sign I've always heard about is the one that the writer Jean Stafford boasted about as a member of the language panel for Harper's Dictionary of Contemporary Usage (1975), which duly quoted her:
On my back door there is a sign with large lettering which reads: THE WORD "HOPEFULLY" MUST NOT BE MISUSED ON THESE PREMISES. VIOLATORS WILL BE HUMILIATED.Did Newman also post a ban on hopefully? In his 1974 book, "Strictly Speaking: Will America be the Death of English?" there's a paragraph bemoaning the new fad for "hopefully," but no mention of the "Abandon hopefully" slogan -- which Newman, an unrepentant punster, would surely have used if he'd thought of it. There are many online references to the existence of such a sign above his office door, but so far I haven't found any firsthand testimony -- which seems odd, given that his office was at NBC, not at some small-town English department.
(My earliest cite for the Newman connection comes from the Canadian magazine Saturday Night, allegedly volume 92, dated 1977: "Edwin Newman, the curator of words for NBC, has a sign over his door: "Abandon 'hopefully' all ye who enter here." The year/volume numbers seem plausible, but I have only Google's iffy metadata to go on.)
Meanwhile, the Canadian journal Archivaria, in a piece published in 2000, commemorated the magazine's founding with a similar anecdote set in 1975:
Twenty-five years! How much has changed since that sweet and pleasant summer day almost a generation ago when a dozen or more archivists and friends gathered at a cottage at Lac McGregor in Quebec to discuss what Archivaria could be. Above the door to the cottage was a stenciled, hand-coloured, nearly two-metre-long banner that read: ABANDON HOPEFULLY ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE.That paragraph itself gets a footnote explaining that one of Stafford's fellow Harper panelists inspired the banner:
The word “hopefully,” employed as “it is to be hoped,” became something of a trope for the journal’s staff reflecting the intellectual commitment and editorial rigour they wanted to bring to Archivaria. We accepted F.G. Fowler’s* disdain for the usage and the words of a panelist** for the 1975 Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage: “I have fought this for some years, will fight it till I die. It is barbaric, illiterate, offensive, damnable, and inexcusable” (p. 311). As a morale booster for what became a very demanding avocation, it was invaluable."Abandon hopefully" is of course just the sort of witticism that could have been coined and re-coined in that heyday of hopefully resistance, and nobody's attributing it to Newman. But his or not, did he ever post the admonition in or near his office? Or is this another story that's just too good to check?
*F.G. Fowler is H.W.'s younger brother, who died before the publication of Modern English Usage in 1926. Nobody else seems to know anything about either Fowler's opinion of hopefully; the OED's first example of the modern hopefully usage is from 1932.
**Hal Borland, once a well-known journalist and author. Sic transit ...