The bit they don’t teach you about sentences with ‘wish’

Here are some classic sentences with wish:

‘I wish I was rich’

‘I wish I had taken the job offer’

‘I wish I had a better car’

We can also add a second part to these wish sentences, to give more information.  There are two ways you can do this:

1. Saying why you wish something

Let’s look at this sentence again:

‘I wish I had a better car.’ 

You can simply add a second part to the sentence to say why you wish you had a better car:

‘I wish I had a better car, this one is terrible.’ 

This is pretty easy grammatically, you are just adding another part to the sentence.  It is also important to know that you can also say why you wish now that you had done something in the past:

‘I wish I had accepted the job offer, because now I have no money’

This can be useful in business as well:

‘I wish you had informed us earlier about this problem, now unfortunately there is nothing we can do to help you.’

2. Say what would happen if your wish came true

In the second part of wish sentences, you can add a would part to say what would happen if your dream came true, for example:

‘I wish I was rich, I would buy a sports car’

For the second part of these sentences, you use..

would + infinitive to talk about the present time or the future

would have + past participle to talk about the past

Here is an example with the past:

Past- ‘I wish you had told be about the problem before…

Past- …we would have been able to solve it a lot quicker’ .

You can also talk about things you wish had happened in the past, and then say what would happen NOW if your wish came true.  Here’s an example with the same sentence as before:

Past- ‘I wish you had told me about the problem before,

Now- then we wouldn’t be in this mess’

In fact, it is possible to have 4 different combinations.  Here are 4 combinations

General/present-   ‘I wish I wasn’t shy..

General/present-   …I would know more people’


General/present- ‘I wish I wasn’t shy…

Past-                  …I would have known more people at school’


Past- ‘I wish I hadn’t been so shy at school…

Past- …I would have known more people there’


Past-                          ‘I wish I hadn’t been so shy at school…

General/present …I would know more people now’


Here are some other examples of wish sentences in action:

 ‘I wish the car was cheaper, then we could afford it.’

‘I wish it had been sunny, we would have had a barbecue’

‘I wish I had told him about this before, then I wouldn’t feel so guilty’

‘I wish I hadn’t drunk so much last night, I wouldn’t have a hangover this morning’

If you would like to check out some useful Business English sentences with ‘wish’, check out my article about professional uses of wish!

If you have any further questions about this, or any other grammar difficulties, feel free to email me at [email protected], or message me on Skype at live:fluencyspace! Take a look at more useful Business English grammar here!


 David Cox

 Fluency Space

 Make the world your fluency space. Business English for career and life success

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