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Thread: Unreal past

  1. #1
    spongie's Avatar
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    Default Unreal past

    Hi,

    I have a problem with these three sentences:

    1. I do wish the bus came / would come. I'm going to be late.

    2. Why on earth does Geoffrey wish he would be given / they would give him a knighthood?

    3. My grandfather always wished that he was / had been taller.

    Parts in bold are the correct ones - I checked the key at the end of the book.

    1. I originally marked came. Why is would come correct option? I thought about it and the only reason I could think of was that came would express regret about the present and it wouldn't be right.

    2. My first answer was that both are correct. I also decided to think about it deeper and I thought of a reason why - because we can't use the same subject twice?

    3. I thought it should be was. Is there a difference in meaning between those two?

    Thank you in advance.

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    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Unreal past

    Quote Originally Posted by spongie View Post
    Hi,

    I have a problem with these three sentences:

    1. I do wish the bus came / would come. I'm going to be late.

    2. Why on earth does Geoffrey wish he would be given / they would give him a knighthood?

    3. My grandfather always wished that he was / had been taller.

    Parts in bold are the correct ones - I checked the key at the end of the book.

    1. I originally marked came. Why is would come correct option? I thought about it and the only reason I could think of was that came would express regret about the present and it wouldn't be right.

    2. My first answer was that both are correct. I also decided to think about it deeper and I thought of a reason why - because we can't use the same subject twice?

    3. I thought it should be was. Is there a difference in meaning between those two?

    Thank you in advance.
    Only the last sentence is about the past.

    1. Came is wrong. Absolutely wrong. When expressing wishes, we always use the infinitive form with "would." "I wish he would leave, not I wish he would leaves." "The bus came" is past tense, but you are wishing about something happening in the future.

    2. This works for me either way. It's about the future, not the past.

    3. I would use "was" here.

  3. #3
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
    SlickVic9000 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Unreal past

    (not a teacher)

    1 -- "would come"
    2 -- Both are acceptable, though I prefer ""they would give him"
    3 -- Both are acceptable. "Had been" could suggest grandpa is no longer alive, but not necessarily.

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