Wish

( Free Online English Grammar Lessons )

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In English we often use "I wish" to talk about imaginary situations in the present. We usually use it to talk about the opposite of what is true or real.

Form : ( Wish + past simple (verb 2) )

In English we use wish + past simple to make wishes about states.

  • I wish I spoke English. ---> I don't speak English
  • I wish I had a big car. ---> I don't have a big car
  • I wish I was on a beach. ---> I'm in the office
  • I wish it was the weekend tomorrow. ---> It's only Thursday tomorrow
  • I wish I knew when my sister was coming. --> I don't know

Form : ( Wish + was/were + verb + -ing )

In English we use wish + past continuous to make wishes about activities happening now or in the future.

  • I wish I was lying on a beach now. ---> I'm sitting in the office
  • I wish it wasn't raining. ---> It is raining
  • I wish you weren't leaving tomorrow. ---> You are leaving tomorrow
  • I wish I was learning English faster.


Form : ( Wish + could + infinitive (verb 1) )

In English we use wish + could + infinitive to make wishes about abilities or possibilities.

  • I wish I could come with you. ---> I can't
  • I wish I could play the piano well. ---> I can't
  • I wish I could have 6 months holiday a year! ---> I can't!
  • I wish I could speak English. --> I can't


Form : ( Wish + didn't have to + infinitive (verb 1) )

In English we use wish + didn't have to + infinitive to make wishes about obligations.

  • I wish I didn't have to get up early every day. ---> I do
  • I wish I didn't have to stay home tonight. ---> I do
  • I wish I didn't have to clean my room ---> I do

Form : ( Wish + would + infinitive (verb 1) )

In English we use wish + would + infinitive to make wishes about things that we would like to change. This is often used to show annoyance or frustration about things outside our control.

  • I wish you'd stop smoking.

We often use wish + Past Perfect Simple to make wishes about the past. These wishes are used to express regret about something that happened.

  • I wish the class hadn't run late. Now I've missed my bus.

We can also use should/shouldn't have + past participle to express regret about something in the past.

  • She should have trained harder before she entered the competition.

To simply express that you want something to happen in the future we use hope, not wish. We use I hope... to talk about things that we think might happen in the future. I hope... is followed by a clause.

  • I hope you get good results. (It's a possibility) 
  • I hope it's sunny tomorrow.
  • I hope she passes her exam next week.
  • I hope the plane doesn't crash tomorrow.

Notice the difference between I wish... and I hope... in these sentences:

  • I wish you were coming to my party. ---> I know you're not coming
  • I hope you are coming to my party. ---> I think you might come. It's a possibility.

Notes for use of "I wish" :

In English we can say I wish I/he/she/it was... or I wish I/he/she/it were... eg. I wish I was younger.= I wish I were younger

We can use "If only..." instead of "I wish..." 

  • I wish Australia was closer. / If only Australia was closer.
  • I wish I wasn't working. / If only I wasn't working .
  • I wish I had known you were coming. / If only I had known you were coming. 
  • I wish I could drive a car. / If only I could drive a  car.
  • I wish he would stop smoking. / If only he would stop smoking.

After wish constructions we often add a clause with but + subject + auxiliary verb

  • I wish I could travel without worrying about money, but I can't.
  • I wish I hadn't insulted my boss, but I did.


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