I wish/ If only- Unit 9 (Ticket to English2)

Wishes about the present
We use wish with past Tense forms (simple and continuous) to express regret about present situations:
I wish I was going with you = (but I'm not)
 I wish I was taller = (I’m not very tall)
I wish you were more help. = (you are not) I wish I were can replace I wish I was.
To many people, I wish I were  sounds more correct:
I wish I were taller.

We use wish with could to express a wish for a present situation to be different:
 I wish I could use a computer well.
√ I wish I could tell her about it.
X I wish I would tell her about it.
  • Past Simple >        present>       I wish I knew the answer. (= I don’t know)
  • Past Simple >        present >      I wish I was /were better at sports. (= I'm not)
  • Past Continuous > present >   I wish I was /were going with you. (= I'm not)     
  • Could >                 present > I wish I could give you an answer. (= I can't)
  • Would >                future > I wish you would be quiet. (= Your talking irritates me.)
  • Past Perfect >        past > I wish I had known you then. (= but I didn't)
  • Could have >         past> I wish I could have explained. (= I wasn't able to)

Wishes about the future

We use wish with would to say how we would like somebody to behave in the future:
⊗ I wish you to stop talking.
√ I wish you would stop talking.
X I wish that they will stop arguing.
√ I wish they would stop arguing.
 We can also use this pattern in situations that do not involve people:
I wish this car would go faster.

Wishes about the past

We use wish with the Past Perfect when we have Regrets about the past:
  • ⇒ I wish I hadn't taken your advice. (= but I did)
  • ⇒ I wish she could have come. (= but she didn't)

If only

If only can be more emphatic than I wish. The verb forms after if only are the same as the patterns with wish:
  • If only I had more money! (= but I haven't)
  • If only I was going on holiday with you!
  • If only you were here. (= but you re not)
  • If only the sun would come out!
  • If only you could be here! (= but you're not)
  • If only I'd listened to you! (=but I didn't )
  • If only he could have explained! (=but he wasn't able to) 

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