I see that both of these seem to translate to the noun hope. What is the difference between them, if any? It seems that one gives espérance but has espoir.


Espoir seems to be more focused, and more tangible. Espérance refers more to a state of mind, more like optimism. Espoir is widely used in French, as opposed to espérance which is a not-so-used word.

ex. J'espère (j'ai l'espoir) que le repas sera bon (I hope the meal will be good). vs Il est plein d'espérance (he is full of hope)

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    I would add that espérance applies in religious or spiritual contexts. – Whelp Jul 28 '14 at 11:07

while "espoir" (https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/espoir) -which is the "Déverbal" of "espérer"- is a neutral,abstract,down-to-earth and everyday life word,"espérance"(https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/esp%C3%A9rance) is formal and more focused on the action by itself...

In deed,"espérance" can be split into the stem that comes from "espérer" plus the sufix "-ance" which gives all the nuance to that word :the sufix "-ance" indicates an action or the result of an action (https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/-ance). "espérance" is widely used in theological literacy and mathematics :

l'espérance mathématique d'une variable aléatoire réelle est, intuitivement, la valeur que l'on s'attend à trouver, en moyenne, si l'on répète un grand nombre de fois la même expérience aléatoire


Finally,i dare say that "espérance"" is for situations in which we are sure about the result while "espoir" has a nuance of great uncertainty.


espoir is human esperance is divine

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    This does not answer the question. – None Jul 28 '17 at 17:14
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    @Laure It kind of does (espérance in religious contexts, espoir elsewhere). But it's mostly wrong, espérance has a religious meaning but is also used in non-religious contexts. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Jul 29 '17 at 12:22

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