Exercise 1

Choose the correct options to complete the text.

Dear Mum,

I feel really unhappy! I wish I 1 this job. If only I 2 to you before I made the decision to come here. l wish the people here 3 so unfriendly. I don't like it at all! If only I 4 longer breaks.

Looking at a computer screen all day is tiring; I wish my computer 5 ! And I wish my boss 6 yelling at me all the time. He's always in a bad mood. It's so annoying! Also, I wish there 7 someone here I could talk to but there is no-one I can talk to. I haven't made any friends. If only I 8 some friends when I arrived here, but meeting new people is very difficult. I wish you 9 nearer to me. If only I 10 you more often!

Please write soon. I miss you!





I wish / if only – grammar chart

Wishes and regrets – I wish / if only

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I wish I did

We can use wish + subject + past simple to talk about things that we would like to be different in the present or future (but which are very unlikely or not possible).

  • I wish things were different, but this is the way they are.  
  • We wish we had enough money to help you.
  • I wish I could be there for you tomorrow.  


I wish I had done

We can use wish + subject + past perfect to talk about things that happened in the past and that we regret (we would have wanted them to be different).

  • I wish I hadn’t quit my job two years ago. 
  • I wish we hadn’t wasted all that money. 


I wish you would do

We can use wish + person/thing + would + infinitive when we talk about situations that annoy us and we would like them to change, or to stop.

  • I wish you would stop biting your nails. I hate it when you do it.
  • I wish it would stop raining. It’s been three days!

We CANNOT use this structure to wish about ourselves (do NOT use I wish I would).

If only

We can use if only instead of I wish with a very similar meaning. The only difference is that if only is more emphatic.

  • If only I was/were a bit taller!*
  • If only you had followed my advice. 
  • If only you would make a bit of an effort. You are wasting your life! 

Note that we can use were instead of was with I/he/she after I wish/if only.