Look at these examples to see how wish and if only are used.
That guy is so annoying! I wish he'd stop talking.
I wish I lived closer to my family.
If only I hadn't lost her phone number. She must think I'm so rude for not calling her.
I wish they wouldn't park their car in front of my house.
Try this exercise to test your grammar.
- Grammar test 1
Read the explanation to learn more.
We use wish and if only to talk about things that we would like to be different in either the present or the past. If only is usually a bit stronger than wish.
In the present
We can use wish/if only + a past form to talk about a present situation we would like to be different.
I wish you didn't live so far away.
If only we knew what to do.
He wishes he could afford a holiday.
In the past
We can use wish/if only + a past perfect form to talk about something we would like to change about the past.
They wish they hadn't eaten so much chocolate. They're feeling very sick now.
If only I'd studied harder when I was at school.
We can use wish + would(n't) to show that we are annoyed with what someone or something does or doesn't do. We often feel that they are unlikely or unwilling to change.
I wish you wouldn't borrow my clothes without asking.
I wish it would rain. The garden really needs some water.
She wishes he'd work less. They never spend any time together.
Do this exercise to test your grammar again.
- Grammar test 2
The key here is the verb bring. The act of bringing (or not bringing) is a past act; the act of having (or not having) is the present result of that action. Thus, we use a past perfect form for bring but would use a past form for have:
The LearnEnglish Team
When we speak about an unreal or hypothetical situation, we use a past verb form, even though we are speaking about the present.
When we use the past simple of the verb 'be' to express this kind of meaning, it's acceptable to use 'were' with any person, that is, not only with 'you', 'we' and 'they', but also with 'I' and 'she/he/it'. (It's also correct to use 'was' with 'I' and 'she/he/it'.)
This has to do with older forms of English which still linger in the way we speak it nowadays.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team