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

MultipleChoice_MTY0NzM=

Wishes 2

GapFillTyping_MTY0NzQ=

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

MultipleChoice_MTY0NzU=

Hypotheses 2

GapFillTyping_MTY0NzY=

 

Comments

Hello, could you please explain what is difference between could and would with using wish.
For example:
1)I wish I could go to the library or
2) I wish I would go to the library.
Thank you in advance.

Hello UmmLayla,

The second sentence is not correct.

We use 'wish + could' when something is not possible and we are not happy about this:

I wish I could go to the library = I can't go to the library and I'm not happy about this.

 

We use 'wish + would' when someone does not want to do something and we are not happy about this:

I wish she would come to the party = She refuses to come to the party and I'm not happy about this.

 

We don't use 'wish + would' about ourselves because if we are not happy about a decision we make then we can simply make a different decision.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much for your explanation.

hello geeks,

Q. It is raining .
A. I wish it will stop .

Is it correct. I am really confused..."I hope it will stop " seems to be correct .need more clarification ,please .

Hello babuer,

To talk about the future after 'hope' we use a present form:

I hope it stops.

 

You could also use 'wish':

I wish it would stop raining.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Sir please tell me which sentence is correct and why:
1) If we hadn't been waiting for you we would already be eating dinner by now.
2) If we hadn't been waiting for you we would have been eating dinner by now.
Thank you in advance.

Hello SahilK,

Which one do you think is correct and why (or why not)?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Sir, I was reading a book where I found the 1st sentence, which means the first sentence is correct. But as I have studied conditional sentences so in my opinion 2nd one should be the correct one. I am kind of confused here.
Thank you in advance

Hello SahilK,

I would say that both forms are possible here. The present form (would be eating) emphasises that the action is in progress; the perfect form (would have been eating) emphasises that the action started in the past and is continuing. Both forms accurately represent the intended meaning and so the choice is the speaker's in this context.

I think the perfect form is probably the more likely in this particular sentence because of the phrase 'by now'. If the time reference were simply 'now' then the present form would be more likely, I think. However, both are possible, as I said above.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Sir what if we omit "by" in both the sentences? Will the sentences be right even now?
And what if we write the sentence like "If we hadn't been waiting for you we would have had dinner by now". Is this right?
Thank you in advance

Pages