Intermediate Grammar: How to use “wish”

Minoura, one of our Facebook friends, has asked us about the grammar rules of using “wish”.

The verb “wish” expresses a desire for a situation that doesn’t exist now.

1. Wish + Simple Past

We use “wish” + simple past to express that we want a situation in the present (or future) to be different.

Examples:
“I wish I lived in Spain” – Right now this person does not live in Spain but would like to in the present.
“He wished he had a Lambourghini” – Right now this person does not have a lambourghini but want one in the present.
“They wish it was June” – Right now it’s May and they still have to wait a month to go on holiday in the future.

2. Wish + Past Continuous

We use “wish” + past continuous to express that we want to be doing a different activity in the present (or the future).

Examples:
“I wish I was eating Spanish food in Barcelona” – Right now this person is in the office, they would like to be in Spain, eating tapas, in the present.
“He wished he was driving a Lambourghini in Paris” – Right now this person is also in an office, they want to be driving, in the present.
“They wish they were leaving tomorrow to go on holiday” – They aren’t going on holiday, in the future, but would like to.

3. Wish + Past Perfect

We use “wish” + past perfect to express regret. This means we want to be able to change a situation in the past.

Examples:
“I wish I hadn’t eaten so much chocolate” – This person ate too much chocolate, feels sick and would like to go back to the past and change it.
“He wished his Dad had bought him a Lambourghini for his birthday” –  This person would have liked a car for his birthday, in the past.
“They wish they had studied more for their exam” – They didn’t study and now would like to go back and study more.

4. Wish + Would

We use “wish” + would + infinitive to express dissatisfaction with the present situation.

Examples:
“I wish you would stop making so much noise” – The person wants the other to stop making noise.
“He wished his dog would behave” – The dog is barking and he wants it to stop.

__________

We can also use “wish” to express “want” in a formal situation, for example, we can say “I wish to talk to the headmaster”. We do this by saying “wish” + infinitive.

Finally, we can use subject + wish + someone as a fixed expression to congratulate them or desire them well. For example: “We wish you a Merry Christmas”, “My parents wish you a Happy Birthday”, “I wish you good luck in your new job”, “She wishes her sister the best of happiness”.

We hope this lesson helped you understand how to use “wish”. And remember, if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section!

Incoming search terms:

  • wish grammar
  • how to use wish
  • wish grammar rule
  • Use of WISH
  • i wish grammar
  • I wish
  • i wish grammar rules
  • Grammar wish
  • wish rules grammar
  • wishes grammar

About the author  ⁄ Kate

I have taught English for 9 years. I currently work for ABA English but I also teach English Tamil Nadu in the south of India. I love vegan cooking, walking my dog Toby in the park and anything to do with social media!

Lear English for Free

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Tiffanie Regine
    15 April 2013

    Usually I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very great article.

  • Reply
    Irving Hosner
    17 April 2013

    Good – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task.

  • Reply
    Kimberely Coppinger
    13 June 2013

    I have recently started a site, the info you offer on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work. “Yield not to evils, but attack all the more boldly.” by Virgil.

  • Reply
    Ardelia Chryst
    13 June 2013

    I actually wanted to make a message to appreciate you for all the fabulous concepts you are posting on this site. My considerable internet search has finally been compensated with extremely good tips to go over with my close friends. I would tell you that most of us readers actually are unequivocally endowed to exist in a perfect site with very many awesome individuals with interesting secrets. I feel very much grateful to have seen your web page and look forward to really more cool moments reading here. Thank you once more for everything.

  • Reply
    Bobby Reihing
    14 June 2013

    Someone essentially lend a hand to make severely articles I might state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this particular submit extraordinary. Fantastic process!

  • Reply
    Vulli Sophie The Giraffe Teether
    12 July 2013

    Very nice blog post. I definitely love this website. Thanks!

  • Reply
    negar
    24 August 2013

    That is very good because it helps me very much in my lesons

    • Reply
      Kate Author
      25 August 2013

      Great! We’re so happy to hear this, thanks!

  • Reply
    Yerko
    30 September 2013

    Use of wish: Please correct the rule you stated on your blog. “Wish + Past Participle” is not correct. “Wish + Simple Past” is the corrcet rule for “I wish I lived…” I wish I were…”

  • Reply
    moeen
    4 December 2013

    This topic is very important in English.

  • Reply
    Beth Peralta
    26 December 2013

    Your rule # 1 is not correct. It should be “wish + simple past” NOT “wish + past participle”. Please make the necessary correction to avoid confusing ESL students. Thank you

    • Reply
      Kate Author
      3 January 2014

      Oops! You’re completely right! Thank you :)

  • Reply
    theolivegreen.com
    26 January 2014

    Hi friends, how is the whole thing, and what you would like to say regarding this post, in my view its genuinely amazing in support of me.

  • Reply
    Johnnie
    27 February 2014

    Whats up are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Reply
    Learn Spanish Quick Lose Weight Fast And Easy For Free
    28 February 2014

    I pay a visit each day a few blogs and blogs to read articles or reviews, except this website offers feature based articles.

  • Reply
    list.ly
    6 March 2014

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  • Reply
    vermontfoodsovereignty.org
    6 March 2014

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  • Reply
    slcldc.com
    8 March 2014

    Nice blog here! Additionally your web site quite a bit up very fast! What host are you the use of? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink to your host? I desire my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  • Reply
    SEO
    13 March 2014

    I wanted to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you book-marked to look at new things you post

  • Reply
    Florine
    22 March 2014

    Pandoras Box may furthermore possibly bee substantially comolex should you are not excellent applying this. There are a few studies which might be gone above in depth, these since the 8 differing kinds of ladies, in addition to the one-minute brain examining process. Real understanding of women gives you a distinct advantage over guys have no clue.

  • Reply
    ezrac-fortlauderdale.com
    23 March 2014

    Thanks for finally writing about >Intermediate Grammar: How to use

  • Reply
    Reginald - GoFair
    29 March 2014

    Hello! Terrific write up you had there. For me personally, you have explained all the facts and I’ve even bookmarked them for future usage. Thanks and many thanks for posting the important guidance.

  • Reply
    South End Apartments
    1 April 2014

    ӏt’s great that you are getting thoսɡhts from this piece of writing as well as from our arǥument madе here.

  • Reply
    Leonard
    9 April 2014

    I think that the 2nd example for number 1 should be “He wishes he had a Lambourghini” because “wished” is past, so it’s not a situation in the present (or future).

  • Reply
    Reginald C
    16 April 2014

    Hello. Fabulous write up you had written there. If you ask me, you have explained everything and I’ve even wrote them down for future reading. Keep on blogging and I appreciate you for revealing the important details.

  • Reply
    christian hudson
    22 April 2014

    Vin Di – Carlo’s tactic consists of quite a few videos along with recommendations and there is no doubt it is quite comprehensive along with well designed technique. Aside from that you could also benefit from the free spins. Various other dating organizations, potentially much less good, manage services involving bootcamps for an end of the week where you can obtain personal instruction for around $1000.

Leave a Comment