Learn English Grammar – Using WISH

MichaelAD Grammar 2 Comments


I remember when I was in elementary school, I used to sit at the kitchen table and do my homework. My grandmother lived next door and used to come to our house in the late afternoons. “I wish I didn’t have to do this homework,” I would complain to her. But her wise response was always the same, “Don’t wish your life away.” I’ve never forgotten that.

Wish can be a tricky word to use in English, so today, I will show you how we use this word in your everyday English Conversation.

We use wish + were when we imagine that we want a situation to be different than it is. When we wish for things like this, we are just imagining something we do not think is possible:

  • I wish I were taller. I’m not tall, but want to be taller.
  • I wish it wasn’t raining today. It’s raining, but I want it to not rain.
  • I wish I were a better dancer. I don’t dance well at all.

Keep in mind that when we imagine something that is possible to happen, we use hope:

  • I hope Jack enjoys his trip to Tokyo.
  • I worked hard on this lesson. I hope it helps you!
  • I hope the train is not late today.

We also use wish + had + ppVerb to talk about something we regret in the past:

  • I wish I had studied accounting in college. Now, I don’t understand business accounting at all. I didn’t study accounting, and I regret it.
  • I ran into my ex-girlfriend at the party. I wish I hadn’t gone to that party. I went to the party, but I regret going there.

In a similar way, we use wish + would when we want to complain about something or show we are unhappy that a situation will not happen.

  • I wish you would stop smoking cigars.
  • I wish the boss would let us go home early today. We worked until 9pm last night!

In a formal conversation, we can use wish + to Verb meaning want to. This kind of English is used in formal situations only.

  • I wish to speak with the store manager please. I have a complaint.
  • I wish to obtain a copy of my passport.

Now, it’s your turn. How about trying to use some of the patterns above in an original sentence in the comment box below. I’ll check it for you. I hope you will try it!

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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