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The verb “hoffen” is used in contexts of “trust, hope, desire”.

Some examples:

Wir hoffen, dass Klaus die Prüfung besteht.

We hope that Klaus will pass the exam.

Sie hoffen auf das Beste

They hope for the best


On the other hand the verb “erwarten” is rather used in a context of “expecting something from someone”.

Some examples:

Wir erwarten, dass Klaus die Prüfung besteht

We expecting, that Klaus will pass the exam

Die Touristen erwarten immer das Beste

Tourists always expect the best

Markus erwartet von Hans das Geld zurück

Markus expects Hans to give him his money back

In this link you can read more about some of the words that cause some confusion for people learning German: