Level: intermediate

Wishes

We use the verb wish or the phrase if only to talk about things which we want but which are not possible:

I wish I could see you next week.
If only we could stop for a drink.
I wish we had a bigger house.
They are always busy. If only they had more time.
John was very lazy at school. Now he wishes he had worked harder.

We use wish and if only with past tense forms:

  • We use past tense modals would and could to talk about wishes for the future:

I don't like my work. I wish I could get a better job.
That's a dreadful noise. I wish it would stop.
I always have to get home early. If only my parents would let me stay out later.

I don't like this place. I wish I lived somewhere more interesting.
These seats are very uncomfortable. I wish we were travelling first class.
I wish I was taller.
John wishes he wasn't so busy.
I'm freezing. If only it wasn't so cold.

  • After I/he/she/it, we can use were instead of was:

I wish I was/were taller.
John wishes he wasn't/weren't so busy.
I'm freezing. If only it wasn't/weren't so cold.

  • We use the past perfect to talk about wishes for the past:

I wish I had worked harder when I was at school.
Mary wishes she had listened to what her mother told her.
I wish I hadn’t spent so much money last month.

Wishes 1

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Wishes 2

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Hypotheses (things we imagine)

Expressions

When we are talking about hypotheses, we use expressions like:

what if ... ? in case suppose (that) supposing (that) imagine (if/that)

We use these expressions:

We should phone them in case they are lost.
Those steps are dangerous. Suppose someone has an accident.

Imagine you won the lottery. What would you do with the money?
What if he lost his job? What would happen then?

Suppose you hadn't passed your exams. What would you have done?
What if he had lost his job? What would his wife have said?

Modal verbs

We use modals would and could for a hypothesis about the present or future:

We can't all stay in a hotel. It would be very expensive.
Drive carefully or you could have an accident.

We use would in the main clause and the past tense in a subordinate clause for a hypothesis about the present or future:

I would always help someone who really needed help.
I would always help someone if they really needed it.

We use modals with have to talk about something that did not happen in the past:

I didn't see Mary, or I might have spoken to her.
It's a pity Jack wasn't at the party. He would have enjoyed it.
Why didn't you ask me? I could have told you the answer.

We use would have in the main clause and the past perfect in a subordinate clause to talk about something that did not happen in the past:

I would have helped anyone who had asked me.
I would have helped you if you had asked me.

Hypotheses 1

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Hypotheses 2

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Comments

I wish to look as cute as i was in my childhood ....
Is that grammatically correct...
Suggest other way to write this sentence..please

Hello Kamil,

It's hard to be sure without knowing exactly what you want to say, but here are two possibilities:

I wish I looked as cute as I did when I was a child.

- here the speaker is talking about the present and is a little sad that he or she doesn't look as cute anymore

 

I wish/want to look as cute as I did when I was a child.

- here the speaker is making a request to someone such as a hairdresser or a make-up artist; it means something like 'Please make me look as cute as when...'

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir... why have u used did ...please explain

Hello Kamil,

'Did' is used here to avoid repeating 'looked' twice in the same sentence:

 

I wish I looked as cute as I looked when I was a child.

I wish I looked as cute as I did when I was a child.

 

I wish/want to look as cute as I looked when I was a child.

I wish/want to look as cute as I did when I was a child.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Oh thanks...indeed, there is no English teacher like you ...thnks

I wish it would stop raining.
I wish it was not raining.

Sir, what's the difference between these two

Hello Kamil

There is no real difference in meaning in most contexts. Native speakers often use 'will' or 'would' to express the idea of willingness, that is, whether someone wants to do something. In this and many other cases, 'would' is used in this way even though its subject is not a person or even a living being -- it's as if we are imagining that nature or a god wants it to rain and that's why it's raining.

The second sentence expresses the idea that we wish things were different, but without the idea of there being a reason for it.

Does that make sense?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Yes sir, absolutely i got that ...thank you

Hello Sir
I wrote to you about this a few minutes ago. That is ' I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any subject.' That was the founder's motto for ... Please let me know the following is right. That is ' I would have found an institution where any person could find instruction in any subject.' Is this what the writer mean? 'wishes and hypothesis'
Please let me know.
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

The verb to find's past simple conjugation is found i.e. I found, she found, we found.

However, there is also the verb 'to found' which is different from 'to find'.

The past participle of 'to found' is founded 'founded'. So, if you want to create that conditional structure (third conditional) it would be "I would have founded..." rather than "I would have found" - which would be an error in this case.

There is no problem with "I would found..." provided it's used to construct a second conditional.

"I would have found" would work in a sentence (3rd conditional) such as: "If I had looked under the sofa, I would have found my keys and I wouldn't have wasted two hours looking for them!"

I hope this helps.

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