Abandon all <hope>, ye who enter here

narumaru

Senior Member
China
Hi all. Could you tell me, why is this hope uncountable or single?
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here
(Canto III of the Inferno)

I thought it should be plural "hopes," because there should be more than one hope they should abandon, become rich, marry with a beautiful woman, buy a house, live peacefully ... etc.

Thanks for your help.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Hi all. Could you tell me, why is this hope uncountable or single?
    (Canto III of the Inferno)

    I thought it should be plural "hopes," because there should be more than one hope they should abandon, become rich, marry with a beautiful woman, buy a house, live peacefully ... etc.

    Thanks for your help.
    Really - you cannot be suggesting corrections to classical poetry, even if the original was medieval Italian :D

    This phrase has become set into the minds of millions of us since then and used in numerous other contexts. It is as fixed and immutable as any famous quotation from great literature or social leader.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Hi all. Could you tell me, why is this hope uncountable or single?
    (Canto III of the Inferno)

    I thought it should be plural "hopes," because there should be more than one hope they should abandon, become rich, marry with a beautiful woman, buy a house, live peacefully ... etc.

    Thanks for your help.
    There are two related meanings for the word 'hope':

    1. A specific thing that you hope for. This is countable.
    2. 'Hope' itself, as an abstract concept. This is uncountable.

    The point of the phrase is that those who enter Hell should leave behind any concept of 'hope', because there is no hope for those condemned to an eternity in Hell. Other examples of the second meaning might be:

    'She was full of hope for the future.'
    'He had very little hope of success.'
    'Hope springs eternal.'
     
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