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Wish/if only


Introduction

"wish"

We can use "wish":
"wish" / "if only"

We can use "wish" and "if only" to express an unlikely or impossible desire or a regret:

The subjunctive mood


Expressions using "wish" and "if only" are examples of the subjunctive mood, which is used to express unlikely or impossible desires (or recommendations, without "wish" / "if only"). In the subjunctive mood, we only use "were" (not "was"):

Conditional clauses


We can use "wish" and "if only" to describe an imagined or impossible condition in the past or present followed by a main clause that describes the imagined result.

Second conditional structure (link to worksheet) for impossible desires in the present:
Third conditional structure (link to worksheet):

Form - "wish"

We use the present simple of "wish" to express a present desire for something in the future.


Practice

Complete the sentences using "wish" and the verb in brackets (where applicable):
.
1)
I    with the manager, please. (speak)

 
2)
She    him a happy birthday.

 
3)
He    at the conference. (not present)

 
4)
We    you a happy anniversary.

 

Form - "wish" / "if only"

We do not use "if only" in question form.
Form:

The subjunctive mood


Form:


Conditional clauses


Further practice

Complete the sentences with the correct answer from a, b, c or d:
.
1)
They ____ hadn't taken the wrong turning.
 

 

2)
____ had studied harder, he could have passed his exams.
 

 

3)
____ spoke Spanish.
 

 

4)
____ her colleague ____ with her.
 

 

5)
She ____ harder to finish the project by the deadline.
 

 

6)
____ earlier, they would have finished by now.
 

 


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