When you say “I wish…” you are talking about something that you want but probably will not happen, or you don’t think will happen. Learn how to use I Wish / If Only in this lesson.
How to Use I Wish / If Only
There are three distinct types of I wish / if only sentences:
- Wish, wanting change for the present or future with the simple past.
- Regret with the past perfect.
- Complaints with would + verb.
Expressing a Wish
|If only / I wish + simple past|
If only I knew how to use a computer. (I don’t know how to use a computer and I would like to learn how to use it)
To express a wish in the present or in the future.
The simple past here is an unreal past.
When you use the verb to be the form is “were”.
Example: I wish I were a millionaire!
|If only / I wish + past perfect|
If only I had woken up early. (I didn’t wake up early and I missed my bus.)
- To express regret.
- The action is past.
|I wish / if only + would + verb|
I wish you wouldn’t arrive so late all the time (I’m annoyed because you always come late and I want you to arrive on time)
- To complain about a behavior that you disapprove.
- Expressing impatience, annoyance or dissatisfaction with present action.