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The Flatmates
Language Point 67

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Past regrets - 'wish'

Tim and Helen in the kitchen

Past regrets - wish + past perfect

Helen was out when Michal called. When she says 'I wish I'd been here when he called' she is expressing regret for a past event. She is sad about something that happened, and she is sorry that the past was not different.

To express regrets about past events, use:

subject + wish(es) + past perfect (had + past participle).

For example: last week you forgot to set your alarm. As a result, you slept late, you were late for school, you missed the start of the exam, and you failed the exam.

You can express your regret for things that happened (or didn't happen) in the past by saying:

I wish I hadn't forgotten to set my alarm.
OR I wish I had remembered to set my alarm.

I wish I hadn't slept late.

I wish I hadn't been late for school.
OR I wish I had been on time for school.

I wish I hadn't missed the start of the exam.
OR I wish I hadn't failed the exam.
OR I wish I had passed the exam.

Note: Even though the speaker is talking about a past event, the verb 'wish' is used in the present simple form, because s/he regrets it now.

I wish I had passed the exam.
You wish you had passed the exam.
S/he wishes s/he had passed the exam.
We wish we had passed the exam.
You wish you had passed the exam.
They wish they had passed the exam.


those two might be getting serious
when a romantic relationship gets serious, the two people feel committed to each other and begin to think about the possibility of a long-term relationship.

I'd be up for that
I'd like to do that (especially when talking about a group arrangement)

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