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Wish Exercises

( Free Online English Grammar Lessons )

Read time : 4 minutes

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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Be going to
Be going to passive
Be used to / Get used to
Defining relative clause
Echo tag
First conditional
Future continuous
Future perfect continuous
Future perfect passive
Future perfect simple
Future simple passive
Have/Get something done
Implied conditional
Indirect question
Infinitive of purpose
Mixed conditional
Modal passive
Non-defining relative clause
Past continuous
Past continuous passive
Past perfect continuous
Past perfect passive
Past perfect simple
Past simple
Past simple passive
Polite request / offer / suggestion
Present continuous
Present continuous passive
Present perfect continuous
Present perfect passive
Present perfect simple
Present simple
Present simple passive
Question tag
Reduced relative clause
Reported speech imperative
Reported speech question
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Second conditional
Short answer
Third conditional
Used to / would (past habit)
Was/were going to
Was/were supposed to
Would rather
Zero conditional