Expressing a wish
" Better do it than wish it done. " (proverb)
'to work' hard is better than 'to wish', but 'to wish' is far more better than 'to despair'. Still never wish the past changed, it has gone forever. What is done is done and it will never be undone.
Wish about the present
In this case expressing a wish is for something to be different from what it actually is.
- "I am poor".
- "I am not rich".
- I wish I were not poor.
- I wish I were rich.
- "I live here". => I wish I did not live here.
- "I do not have money". => I wish I had money.
wish / if only + subject + verb in the past simple (subjunctive) [V2]
Wish about the past
Expressing a wish about the past means you regret something about the past and you wish the situation might have been different.
- "I was lazy".
- "I was not hardworking".
- I wish I had not been lazy.
- I wish I had been hardworking.
- "I made mistakes". => I wish I had not made mistakes.
- "I did not do my homework". => I wish I had done my homework.
wish / if only + subject + verb in the past perfect [had+V3]
What do these sentences mean?
- If only I slept well. (this means that in reality I don't sleep well)
- I wish I had revised my lessons. (but in reality I didn't revise my lessons)
- If only she were younger. (unfortunately she is not young)
- We wished they hadn't postponed the meeting. (but they did)
- If he had succeeded, his mother wouldn't have punished him (but actually his mother did punish him because he didn't succeed.)
How to express a wish?
There are two things you have to bear in mind
- When the original sentence (reality) is affirmative, you must change it to the negative form and vice-versa.
- When the original sentence is in the present go back to the past and if it is in the past go to past perfect (always one step back)
N.B. Never use "will" after "I wish" or "If only".
Have a look at these five sentences and try to re-write them as indicated.
- "She doesn't speak English".
- "She can't use the phone".
- "He didn't attend the meeting".
- "That's true"
- "I am not a bird"
*/ 2009 national exam (session 1) Human sciences stream:
1. Saida left school at an early age.
The teacher wishes
*/ 2009 national exam (session 1) Arts stream:
2. Mounir dropped out of school at an early age.
*/ 2009 national exam (session 1) All scientific streams:
3. "I accepted my first cigarette." Younes said regretfully.
"If only I " Younes said.
*/ 2009 national exam (session 2) All scientific streams:
4. Brahim didn't attend last year's free computer classes.
*/ 2005 national exam (session 2) All scientific streams:
5. "I didn't take the test." Nadia said regretfully.
Nadia wished she
Make the right wish
"'If only'! Those must be the two saddest words in the world."