Session 4

We use I wish for things that we would like to be true about our past, present or future. Usually it's impossible for them to be true... so our wishes are just imagined. There are particular verb forms that we use when talking about wishes. Helen goes back in time to explain!

Wayiitiwwan marii boqonnaa kana keessaa

Wayitii marii qabxii 4

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Stop Saying!

I wish...

We all have wishes and regrets. The phrase I wish can be used to talk about the past, present or future. But what verb form should follow it? Helen takes us back in time to answer that question.

Vidiyoo daawwadhuuti shaakala kana xumuri

Summary

Wishes are usually unlikely or impossible to become reality. When talking about the past they are often in the form of regrets. After I wish in these situations use the past perfect.

  • I wish I hadn't drunk so much last night.
  • I wish I'd accepted that job.
  • I wish I hadn't read the reviews before I went to see the film.

When talking about the present or future, a wish is expressed with a form that looks like the past simple.

  • I wish I had more money.
  • I wish I didn't have to go to work next week.
  • I wish I made better use of my time.

This form is the subjunctive and the only difference between the past subjunctive and past simple is the verb to be which uses were for all subjects.

  • I wish I were famous.
  • I wish I were ten years younger.
  • I wish I were more popular.

So, after I wish, use the past simple except when the verb is to be. In this case, use were. When the situation you are talking about is in the past, use the past perfect.

To do

Test yourself on the correct forms after I wish in our quiz.

Wishes quiz

5 Questions

In each question choose the best option to complete the sentence.

Baga gammadde! Qormaata xumurteetta
Excellent! Great job! Carraa badaa! Qabxii argatte:
x / y

End of Session

Well done, that's the end of this session.

Many thanks to the staff and students of Avalon School of English for their help with this feature.

Next

Time for another visit to our favourite restaurant, The White Elephant.

Caasluga kutaa kanaa

  • I wish

    For wishes about the present or future, use the subjunctive. Follow I wish with the past subjunctive. The past subjunctive looks like the past simple, except for the verb to be which uses were for all subjects.

    I wish I had a better job.
    I wish I were famous.
    I wish I didn't spend so much on clothes.

    For wishes about the past, use the past perfect.

    I wish I hadn't drunk so much last night.
    I wish I had accepted the job.