Sunday, February 1, 2015

I wish / If only

We use wish and if only to express how we would like things to be different if we had the power to change them. They both have the same meaning, but if only is more emphatic.
They can be followed by another clause using the following tenses:
  • Past simple. It's used to express things you would like to be different in the present, but which you deem impossible or unlikely: I wish I were taller. As in conditional sentences, we use the subjunctive (were) for all the grammatical persons. However, was is also possible in a less formal context: I wish he was my friend.
I wish I were taller
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  • Past perfect. It's used to express regret or criticism about things that happened or didn't happen in the past. I wish I had studied harder for the exam. (Now it's too late. I can only regret I didn't study more). I wish you had told me the truth.
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  • Would + infinitive. It's used to:
    •  Complain about things that you find annoying. I wish you would stop making so much noise. If only this wind would stop. In these sentences, the subject of the subordinate clause must be different from that of the main clause. 
    •  Express wishes for the future when we think the action will probably not happen  (could can be used instead of would) I wish I could go on holday with you, (but I know I can't). If there is a stronger possibility that the action will happen, we use hope: I hope I can go on holiday with you. (I don't know if I can or not). 
          We can find another example of wish + would in this song by Phil Collins:


There are many songs in which you can find examples of  wish or if only. Here are a few:
          


13 comments:

  1. An usefull post,thx to admin for the article

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  2. I have just nominated your awesome blog to the Black Wolf Blogger Award. CONGRATS! You really deserve it for the great job you do! :-) http://myenglishscrapbook.blogspot.com.es/2015/03/black-wolf-blogger-award.html

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    1. Thank you very much, Esther! I'm greatly honoured! I'll try my best to keep up to your expectations! Cheers!

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    2. My pleasure! And I'm sure you will. :-)

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  3. When do you use I wish/if only + could and when do you use I wish/If only + past simple? I hope you can help me.

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    1. You should use "could" instead of the past simple when there is an idea of ability. Compare: "I wish I spoke French" with "I wish I could speak French". The second sentence is better because it expresses the idea of having the ability to speak a foreign language. More examples: "I wish I could swim", "I wish I could ski", "I wish I could do that", etc. I hope I have helped you. Best wishes!

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  4. I just discovered you!!!! Very useful posts :) I'm taking English lessons in United States and sometimes I need some extra help to understand the concepts. I try to read from different sources and then put the all information together, that's the only way that works for me ;) Thanks!!! Best wishes and don't stop writing :D

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    Replies
    1. That's a great way to learn, Miriam. It also works for me. I read lots of sources and then synthesize everything.
      Thank you for visiting my blog. I wish I could write more often but it takes time and that's something one is short of during the school year, unfortunately.
      All the best! Cheers!

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  5. Please! Post article on preposition and its uses.

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  6. Hi Momo! I have pubished a few posts on prepositions and conjunctions. You can search for them in the "search this blog" section right under the cartoon of the week. I hope you can find what you are looking for. Otherwise, tell me. I'll be glad to be of use! Cheers!

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