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Communication : Expressing a wish or a regret

Use of I wish/ if only :

There are two disting types of I wish / if only sentences :

  • I wish, wanting change for the present or future with the simple past
  • Regret with the past perfect.

Expressing a wish :

Form :

If only / I wish + simple past

Example :

If only I knew how to use a computer ( I don’t know how to use a coputer and I would like to learn how to use it)

Use :

  • 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 ( but I am not a millionaire)


Expressing regret :

Form :

If only/ I wish + past perfect

  • If only I had woken up early. ( I didn’t wake up early and I missed my bus)
  • If only my parents had understood me when I was young ( but they didn’t understand me )


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