wish

  • We can use wish + infinitive to mean want. Wish is more formal.
      I wish to see the manager, please.

    For the diffferences between wish, want, expect, hope and look forward to,

  • We can also use wish to express regrets — to say that we would like things to be different. We use a past tense with a present meaning in this case.
      [ I wish + subject + past tense ]
      I wish I was better-looking.
      I wish I spoke French.
      I wish I had a yacht.
      I wish it wasn’t raining.
      In a formal style, we can use were instead of was after I wish.
      I wish I were better-looking, (formal)
      We can say I wish . . . would (but not I wish . . . will).
      I wish she would be quiet.
      I wish something interesting would happen.
      To talk about the past, we use a past perfect tense (had + past participle).
      I wish + subject + past perfect
      I wish I had gone to university.
      I wish I hadn’t said that.

    If only is used in the same way. For other structures where we use a past tense with a present or future meaning.

  • We do not use wish in progressive tenses.
      I wish I knew why.