Grammar » B1+ Grammar lessons and exercises » Wishes and regrets – I wish/if only » Page 3
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  • Wishes and regrets – I wish/if only

    Exercise 3

    Fill in the gaps to complete the sentences as in the example

    EXAMPLE: You felt sick and you missed your friend’s birthday party. ⇒ I wish I hadn’t felt sick. 

    1 You got up late and you missed the train. ⇒ I wish I late.

    2 You shouted at your girlfriend and she broke up with you. ⇒ I wish I  at my girlfriend.

    3 You're not the boss so you can't use the car park. ⇒ I wish I the boss.

    4 You didn't go to the meeting and you lost the contract. ⇒ I wish I to the meeting.

    5 Your neighbours make a lot of noise and you hate it. ⇒ If only my neighbours so much noise!

    6 You want to go away for the weekend but you've got lots of homework. ⇒ I wish I so much homework.

    7 You got hurt because you didn't wear a helmet. ⇒ I wish I  a helmet.

    8 You'd like to have a cat but you're allergic to animals. ⇒ I wish I  allergic to animals.

    9 You didn’t fill up the tank and you ran out of petrol. ⇒ I wish I the tank.

    10 Your partner is biting his nails and you want him to stop because you don't like it. ⇒ I wish you  biting your nails.


  • 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 that are very unlikely or impossible).

    • 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 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 can NOT use this structure to wish about ourselves:

    • I wish I would… blank

    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.

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