UNIT 39. Wish

Australia-02 grammar


You can say “I wish you luck / all the best / success / a happy birthday, ” etc.:

  • I wish you all the best in the future.
  • I saw Tim before the exam, and he wished me luck.

We say “wish somebody something” (luck / a happy birthday, etc.). But you cannot “wish that something happens.”
We use hope in this situation. For example”

  • I hope you get this letter before you leave town. (not I wish you get)

Compare I wish and I hope:

  • I wish you a pleasant stay hore.
  • I hope you have a pleasant stay here. (not I wish you have)


We also use wish to say that we regret something, that something is not the way we would like it.
When we use with in this way, we use the past (know / lived, etc.), but the meaning is


  • I wish I know what to do about the problem. (I don’t know and I regret this)
  • I wish you didn’t have to go so soon. (you have to go)
  • Do you wish you lived near the ocean? (you don’t live near the ocean)
  • Jack’s going on a trip to Mexico soon. I wish I was going too. (I’m not going)

To say that we regret something in the past, we use wish + had … (had known / had said), etc.:

  • I wish I’d known about the party. I would have gone if I’d known. (I didn’t know)
  • It was a stupid thing to say. I wish hadn’t said it. (I said it)


I wish I could (do something) = I regret that I cannot do it:

  • I’m sorry I have to to go. I wish I could say longer. (but I can’t)
  • I’ve met that man before. I wish I could remember his name. (but I can’t)

I wish I could have (done something) = I regret that I could not do it:

  • I hear the party was great. I wish I could have gone. (but I couldn’t go)


You can say “I wish (somebody) would (do something).” For example:

I wish it would stop raining.

It’s been raining all day. Jill doesn’t like it. She says:

I wish it would stop raining.

Jill would like the rain to stop, but this will probably not happen.

We use I wish .. would when we would like something to happen or change.
Usually, the speaker doesn’t expect this to happen.

We often use I wish … would to complain about a situation:
– The phone has been ringing for five minutes. I wish somebody would answer it.
– I wish you would do something instead of just sitting and doing noting.

You can use I wish … wouldn’t … to complain about things that people do repeatedly:
– I wish you wouldn’t keep interrupting me.

We use I wish … would … for actions and change, not situations. Compare:

I wish Sarah would come. (= I want her to come)
but – I wish Sarah was (or were) now. (not I wish Sarah would be)

I wish somebody would buy me a car.
but – I wish I had a car. (not I wish I would have)