Wish You Knew Better Grammar?
 
 
 
 
Wish You Knew Better Grammar?

The lesson includes an audio program explaining this grammar topic, the script for the audio program, a words in this story section, and other important information.
Audio Program

Listen to the audio program explaining this grammar topic. Then read the following written information.
Wish You Knew Better Grammar?
For VOA Learning English, this is Everyday Grammar.

In English, wish is a powerful word for expressing your dreams, hopes and desires. Here are some examples:

We wish you the best.

Her mother wishes they would get married.

I wish I had brought my camera.

I wish to speak to the president.

You will often hear wish in music, movie dialog, poetry and inspirational speeches. Let’s take a look at some of the tricky grammar issues with wish.

A wish is a desire for a different reality. In general, wishes express desires that are unlikely to happen. If you say, “I wish I could fly,” it means you probably will not grow wings and learn to fly.

A Unique Verb

Wish follows a unique -- and rather confusing -- set of grammar rules. Wish uses the same verb back shifting rule as reported speech.
present simple past simple
present progressive past progressive
past simple past perfect
present perfect  
Verb back shifting

A wish about the present uses a simple past main verb.

He wishes he understood the lesson.

In this example, understood is a simple past verb.

Wish is often followed by that. That introduces a noun clause. It is optional. For example:

    I wish that I looked like a movie star.

    I wish I looked like a movie star.

Both of these sentences have the same meaning.

In hypothetical situations, such as wishes and conditionals, use were for all pronouns.

I wish you were here.

I wish she were here.

I wish I were there.

In everyday conversation, you might hear was after wish. For example, “I wish I was the president.” Was is acceptable in informal situations, but you should use were in formal situations. This confusing rule comes to English through Latin.

Future wishes

Wish followed by would usually implies a request. For example:

    I wish you would finish college before you get married.

Wish can be used after be going to or will to predict a future regret. Maybe you have heard your parents say something like this:

    Someday, you are going to wish you had taken my advice.

    When you are older, you will wish that you had studied engineering.

Past wishes

Let’s take a closer look at past wishes. Generally, a past wish is a wish that did not come true. To refer to a past wish, use a past perfect verb after the object. To form the past perfect, use had followed by a past participle verb.

She wishes she had written down the phone number.

I wish I had known that you were in town last week.

Listen to country singer Gene Autry make a past wish in an old song called “I Wish I Had Never Met Sunshine.” In this song, Sunshine is the name of a lost lover.

    I wish I had never met Sunshine,

    and Sunshine had never met me

    For 21 years I'll regret it

    'Cause I'm in the jailhouse, you see

Most of the time, a wish about the past suggests regret. The speaker would have acted differently if he or she could turn back time. A past wish has a similar grammatical function to a past unreal conditional.

Listen to this song by Taylor Swift. You will hear three different uses of wish. She starts with a future wish, then shifts to the past, then to the present.

    I wish you would come back (future)

    (I) wish I (had) never hung up the phone like I did (past)

    I wish you knew that I'll never forget you as long as I live. (present)

    I wish you were right here, right now it’s all good (present)

Wish + infinitive

Wish followed by an infinitive makes a strong demand. For example:

I wish to speak to the manager.

I wish to learn the truth about what happened.

Wish can be followed by an infinitive, but never by a gerund. For example, it would sound strange to say, “I wish going skiing.” The correct form is, “I wish to go skiing.”

Hope vs. Wish

What’s the difference between hope and wish? In some contexts they can be interchangeable. Hope usually expresses desire that is possible. Wish, on the other hand, refers to an outcome that is not likely to happen.

Pay attention to the different contexts of hope and wish in these examples.
I hope you pass the test. (possible)

I wish I could fly. (impossible)

I hope I get to work on time. (possible)

I wish I were a millionaire. (not likely)

If wish is “reaching for the stars,” then hope is “reaching for the sky.”

And that’s Everyday Grammar. We hope you will write to us in the Comments and on our Facebook page.

I’m John Russell.

And I’m Ashley Thompson.

[Pink Floyd]

    How I wish, how I wish you were here

    We’re just two lost souls…

Adam Brock wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Dr. Jill Robbins and Kathleen Struck were the editors.
Words in This Story
  • verb back shifting rule grammatical term. The concept of going back one verb tense.
  • inspirationaladj. causing people to want to do or create something
  • hypotheticaladj. not real : imagined as an example
  • implyv. to express (something) in an indirect way : to suggest (something) without saying or showing it plainly
  • regretn. to feel sad or sorry about (something that you did or did not do) : to have regrets about (something)
  • jailhousen. a place where people are kept when they have been arrested and are being punished for a crime
  • contextn. the words that are used with a certain word or phrase and that help to explain its meaning
  • interchangeablyadv. capable of being used in place of each other
Additional Information
None.
Source: Voice of America
 
Grammar Tips
Can You Catch These Native Speaker Mistakes?
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your understanding of common mistakes. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
Commonly Confused Words: Part One
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson to help with your understanding of commonly confused words.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Click here to visit the lesson page.
Commonly Confused Words: Part One
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your understanding of commonly confused words. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
Commonly Confused Words: Part Two
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson to help with your understanding of commonly confused words.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Click here to visit the lesson page.
Commonly Confused Words: Part Two
(Beginner - Listening)

An audio lesson to help with your understanding of commonly confused words. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
Cool Stuff
Online Reference
Dictionary, Encyclopedia & more
Word:
by:
Confused?

Found a word you do not know?
1. Type the word
2. Click Look it up
Top Hits

Listen to American music while you study.
1. Click The ► button
2. Enjoy some great music
       
  Resources

These links contain many English learning resources. Some are for students, some are for teachers. If you find information not on Fun Easy English, please post a comment below, and I will make every effort to add it to the site. Thanks.
 
 
 
 
 
Site Links Site Content Contact My Other Sites
About
Site Map
Copyright
Classroom
Activities
Idioms
Alphabet
Surveys
About America
Pronunciation
Conversation
Slang
Alphabet Kids
Tests
Citizen America
Reductions
Videos
Vocabulary
Environment
Acronyms
Drive America
Grammar
Reading
Listening
Study
Portmanteau
Travel America
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Google
Howie Hayman
English Global Group
San Diego California Events
Tanegashima Japan
Japanese Language Culture Food
Akikos Kitchen
Shai Hayman