Posted by: crisdiaz24 | January 27, 2009

I WISH / IF ONLY Explanation



There are four types of I wish / If only sentences.

1. A regret that a present, future or general situation is not what you would like it to be:

I wish / If only + S + Past

  • I wish I were rich. (I am not)
  • I wish it didn’t rain tomorrow.

2. A regret that sthg happened or didn’t happen in the past.

I wish / If only + S + Past Perfect

  • I wish I had already started studying for the exam. (I have not)
  • I wish I had been able to go to the concert.

3. A desire for someone orsomething to change or to do or stop doing something.

This type of I wish sentence expresses some kind of ANNOYANCE.

I wish + S + WOULD + V

  • I wish you wouldn’t smoke so much.
  • I wish the children would be quiet.

NOTE: You CANNOT use WOULD when subject of the subordinate clause is the same as the subject of the main clause.

4. A wish that sby was able to do sthg which they can’t do.

I wish + S + COULD + V

  • I wish I could give up smoking.
  • I wish I could play the piano.


  1. Cristina:

    Me encantó la explicación tan clara!!!Podrías por favor mandarme ejercicios con key de transformation y / o paraphrasin si es lo mismo?
    Muchas gracias!!!


  2. AN interesting explaination.


  3. […] I WISH / IF ONLY Explanation January 2009 2 comments 3 […]


  4. losiento pero creo que te has equivocado, no sería en pasado simple, deseo y pasado perfecto , remordimientos?????


    • Sí, en efecto, en pasado simple I WISH expresa el deseo de que algo sea diferente a como es en el presente.


  5. es decir, la 2º son regrets y la 3º son complaints, ( para explicarme mjr)¿????


    • I wish + past perfect expresa a “regret” con relación al pasado, un deseo de que algo hubiera sido diferente.
      I wish + WOULD expresa el deseo de que alguien cambie de comportamiento ahora (en el presente) o en el futuro. Puede expresar una queja, es verdad, o una crítica: “I wish you’d stop shouting. I’m not deaf you know.” (ejemplo de Advanced Learner’s Grammar, Mark Foley and Diane Hall)


      • Muy buenas explicaciones. Gracias.


  6. Me ha servido de mucho la explicacion !^^


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