If only or I wish, use for desires, regrets or complaints.

There are 3 types of IF ONLY or I WISH sentences:

if only or I wish, the wish tree

1. Speaking about a desire:

Form: IF ONLY or I WISH

  • To express a desire in the present or in the future.
    Example: If only I knew how to use a computer. (I don’t know how to use a computer but I would like to learn how to use one.)
  • When you use the subjunctive of the verb ‘to be’ (the mood of wanting what is not) and the form is “were”.
    Example: I wish I were twenty years old again. (I am already older, so I am talking about a present desire to re-live the past.)
  •  

    2. Talking about regret:

    Form: IF ONLY or I WISH + Past Perfect

    • To express sorrow or regret about a past action.
      Example: If only I had woken up early. (I didn’t wake up early and I missed my bus.)
      Example: I wish that I had remembered his birthday, then he would not be so sad.

     

    3. Complaining

    Form: IF ONLY or I WISH + Would + Verb

    • To complain about a behaviour that you would like to change if you could.
      Example: I wish you wouldn’t arrive so late all the time. (I’m annoyed because you always come late and I want you to be here on time.)

    Please click: Lesson B2.11, to simply buy this one lesson, without the rest of the course.

     

    Related Content:

    British Council – Wish and If only.
    Cambridge Dictionary – If only
    Exam English – Wish, if only
     


     

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