We all travel, whether it’s a five-minute walk to school or a five-hour flight across borders. After a journey, we often reach out and say, “Hope you arrived safely.” It’s common, but is it correct?
It is correct to say “hope you arrived safely.” It functions grammatically as a minor sentence, even though it may not contain a subject as expected from a typical sentence. “Hope you arrived safely” is a polite expression we use so often that it’s become a part of the English vernacular.
This article will guide you to use “hope you arrived safely” correctly. You’ll learn what the phrase means, when to use it (and when to avoid it), and what you can use instead.
What Does “Hope You Arrived Safely” Mean?
“Hope you arrived safely” is a statement you might tell someone after they complete a journey, whether it’s in person or via text. This connotatively positive statement lets whoever you’re speaking to know that you hope they completed their journey without incident.
You would only say this statement to people you care about (or at least want to be polite toward). It’s a way to check in and find out about someone’s trip without asking directly.
When you tell someone, “Hope you arrived safely,” you let them know you wanted them to have a pleasant journey without any trouble.
The meaning becomes more evident if you break down the statement into various parts of speech.
The Verb “Hope”
The statement begins with the word “hope.” “Hope” can function as a verb or noun. When using “hope,” you refer to a desire or wish. It generally acts as a positive term:
- I hope you’re okay. (Verb)
- With time, her hope began to fade. (Noun)
We know “hope” functions as a verb in the first statement because it’s an action the unnamed speaker is doing. The speaker is “hoping.”
However, the verb breakdown becomes further complicated because “hope” can be both a transitive and intransitive verb.
Transitive vs. Intransitive Verbs
Transitive verbs require a direct object (a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase) following the verb, while intransitive verbs do not.
Generally, a sentence with a transitive verb would answer the questions “What?” or “Whom?” while a sentence with an intransitive word would answer questions about when, where, or how.
When saying “hope you arrived safely,” “hope” functions as a transitive word. We know this because we follow it with an object, specifically the pronoun “you.” The object is who or what receives the action.
The Pronoun “You”
The second word in this statement is the pronoun “you.” You can use “you” to refer to a single person or many people to whom you are speaking (source). While, in general, “you” is singular, you may sometimes use it as a plural:
- “What do you mean, Alyssa?” asked the teacher.
- The teacher reminded the class, “You better do your homework; it’s due on Friday.”
In the first sentence, “you” is singular because it refers only to Alyssa. In the second sentence, “you” is in its plural form and refers to every student in the class.
In the sentence “hope you arrived safely,” “you” can function as both a singular and a plural pronoun. Whether “you” is singular or plural depends mainly on the context.
When speaking to a single person, “you” is singular, and while talking to a group, “you” is plural:
- I signed off my letter with “Hope you arrived safely. Love, Anna”
- “Hope you arrived safely,” the tour guide told his frazzled group.
The Verb “Arrive”
“Arrive” is a verb (source). You “arrive” when you reach a specific place. However, since “arrived” is a past participle, you must add the suffix -ed to the word’s end to describe an action that someone completed in the past.
So, when you use “arrived,” you’re using the past tense form of the word “arrive.” That means you can only use this statement after someone has reached a destination. However, this place doesn’t have to be your end destination:
- I arrived at LAX and took a nap before my next flight.
In the sentence above, the speaker shows how they reached a specific place, but this isn’t necessarily their goal destination.
“Arrived” is a crucial part of the statement because it indicates tense. So when you say, “Hope you arrived safely,” you’re speaking to someone after they reach a specific location (not during or before).
If you want to change the sentence’s tense, you’ll have to adapt the word “arrive” and make some changes.
- I hope you will arrive safely. (future tense)
- I hope you arrive safely. (present tense)
The two sentences above aren’t the only ways to adapt the sentence’s tense, but they’re likely the easiest.
The Adverb “Safely”
The adverb “safely” comes from the verb “safe.” Like most adverbs, it takes the form of verb + ly. The verb “safely” means not having any harm done. So, to “arrive safely” is to reach a place unharmed.
“Safe,” in general, can function in two ways. One function happens when you mean it literally for someone taking an actual dangerous trip. In this case, you’re checking that someone made it to their destination without being hurt.
However, there are other trips where the risk of harm is next to none. So, if someone asks if you’ve arrived “safely,” they’re just politely checking in on you after your journey. They don’t necessarily believe any harm could have befallen you.
“Safely” isn’t just any old adverb. “Safely” is what we call an adverb of manner.
Adverbs of Manner
“Adverbs of manner” are specific adverbs that indicate how an action was done (source). You would usually place an adverb of manner after the principal verb or the object.
When we look at the word “safely,” specifically in “Hope you arrived safely,” you’ll notice that it comes directly after the verb.
Arrive Safely or Safely Arrived?
Though you can move the adverb around in “hope you arrived safely,” you probably shouldn’t.
Try looking at these two sentences:
- I hope you arrived safely.
- I hope you safely arrived.
Both of these sentences are correct. In these sentences, the adverb “safely” modifies the verb “arrived.” “You arrived safely” is a noun clause, which is a group of words consisting of a noun and a verb that collectively act as a subject or object unit.
In a noun clause, the adverb can be after the noun and before the verb. We use this less than the conventional format (where the adverb is after the verb.) So “I hope you safely arrived” isn’t incorrect, just uncommon.
Minor Sentence Construction
In general, for a sentence to be considered complete, it must consist of two things: a subject and a predicate that together convey a complete idea (source). “Hope you arrived safely” is unique because it is a minor sentence.
A minor sentence conveys a full idea despite dropping its subject, verb, and/or object because these are assumed by context. Minor sentences happen when a full sentence is so often spoken within a specific situation that we drop some words.
In the case of “I hope you arrived safely,” it seems redundant to use a subject we all understand by context.
Chances are you’ve still heard this phrase, and others like it during informal chats or messaging. For example,
- Hope you had a good day!
- Thank you so much!
- Sorry to hear that.
While these sentences aren’t grammatically correct, readers assume the implied subject by context. That’s why the meaning remains comprehensible, and phrases like these are still common.
How Do You Use “Hope You Arrived Safely”?
“Hope you arrived safely” is a statement that can stand on its own, at least in informal conversation. However, to convey the same message in writing, you must add a subject.
A subject is a noun (a person, place, or thing) performing the action in a sentence. So, if you want a correct and usable sentence in formal environments, you must begin with a noun or pronoun.
One of the simplest ways to make “Hope you arrived safely” a complete sentence is to attach a pronoun to the beginning. The table below gives examples of personal pronouns:
|Personal Pronouns (In-Object Form)|
|3rd Person||He, she, it||They|
First-person pronouns are the easiest; you can attach them to the sentence without making any changes:
- I hope you arrived safely.
- We hope you arrived safely.
Connecting the second-person “you” is impossible because the sentence will not make sense:
- You hope you arrive safely.
Using third-person pronouns is possible, but it can complicate things at times. For example, look at the sentences below:
- He hopes you arrive safely.
- She hopes you arrive safely.
- They hope you arrive safely.
You can use “he,” “she,” and “they,” but you’ll want to ensure that you retain subject-verb agreement. You also likely won’t use “it” because it’s a pronoun you mainly use to refer to objects, not people.
If you decide to use a noun, such as someone’s name instead of a pronoun, you will have to add an “s” to “hope.”
- Anthony hopes you arrive safely.
In What Context Can You Use “Hope You Arrived Safely”?
You can use “Hope you arrived safely” to speak to someone casually after they’ve reached a location in their journey. The phrase is in the past tense because the recipient has already arrived.
Keep formality in mind. “Hope you arrived safely” can stand on its own as a minor sentence in polite, informal conversation. However, when speaking formally, you need to use a complete sentence.
When Can You Use “Hope You Arrived Safely”?
“Hope you arrived safely” is a statement that can stand independently in a polite and informal context. However, if you wish to be grammatically proper, you must add a subject.
So, if you meet with a coworker who just flew in for a quarterly meeting, you may say, “Hope you arrive safely.” This is a polite acknowledgment of your coworker’s journey to attend the meeting.
If you wish, you can also lengthen the sentence. For example,
- I hope you arrived safely, Kamilla.
- We hope you arrived safely at Heathrow Airport.
When Not to Use “Hope You Arrived Safely”
“Hope you arrived safely” is a friendly, polite way to greet a person at work or in daily life. However, it is not appropriate in a formal setting or in writing because it is a minor sentence of speech – add a subject in writing. “Hope you arrive safely” is also inappropriate in the present or future tense.
It’s not correct to use “Hope you arrived safely” when the person you’re talking to has not arrived at a location or is in the process of arriving.
You should also avoid it when speaking to someone formally and respectfully.
If you are trying to be formal, you can add a pronoun or noun to the beginning of the sentence or use an entirely different sentence.
What Can You Use Instead of “Hope You Arrived Safely”?
You can use many different statements in place of “Hope you arrived safely.” Your choice depends on what you’re trying to communicate.
Below is a tool you can use if you’d like to know potential substitutes:
Made it to
Alive and well
You can use the above words to craft a similar sentence. For example, you may say, “I hope you reached (a location) unharmed.”
Remember that no word is a perfect synonym in this scenario, so sometimes it’s best to stick to the original.
Using “Hope You Arrived Safely” in a Full Sentence
“I hope you arrived safely” is a complete sentence, but we often use the minor sentence version, “Hope you arrived safely,” in informal contexts.
You can also use “hope you arrived safely” along with more detail, such as information about who you’re speaking to and where they arrived. For example:
- I hope you arrived safely, Simeone.
- I hope you arrived at work safely.
- She told us she hoped we arrived safely, given the storms during our flight.
You can learn another great example of this usage in Is It Proper Grammar to Say, “Looking Forward to Talking to You”?
Polite Expressions as Minor Sentences
“Hope you arrived safely” is a polite expression and a minor sentence. Minor sentences are clauses and phrases that function as a sentence despite not meeting the grammatical standards of a complete sentence.
Politeness is when you show respect and proper etiquette while communicating with someone. So, a “polite expression” is a group of words (or sometimes a single word) that you use to show respect and appreciation.
A polite expression that is also a minor sentence typically implies its subject or predicate. Common examples you might hear are:
- Thank you so much.
- Have a nice day!
- Sorry about that.
“Hope you arrived safely” is a polite expression because you’re letting the speaker know you want something good for them (a safe journey). It also uses the word “hope” instead of similar, more demanding words like “want” or “expect.”
It’s a minor sentence because it conveys an entire message though we imply the subject.
Considering politeness is such a standard part of human existence, it makes sense why we condense these and other expressions into minor sentences. Just ensure that you use complete sentences in more formal contexts.
You can find similar expressions in the article “Is It Correct To Say Many Happy Returns of the Day?”
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Think about how you talk to authority figures and friends in your life to determine which polite expressions you use regularly.
It’s not unusual for acquaintances to reach out after a journey and let you know they “hope you arrived safely.” It’s a sweet thought we convey informally as a minor sentence.
However, if you’re in a more formal situation, you should add a subject or use a similar phrase, such as “I hope you had a pleasant trip.”