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Thread: Verb "to wish"

  1. #1
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    Smile Verb "to wish"

    Could you please tell me which of these forms is correct?:

    I wish you worked for me
    I wish you would work for me
    I wish you could work for me

    I guess the last one is correct, but what about the others? In case both are correct, is there a difference in meaning?

    Thank you very much for your help!

  2. #2
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Verb "to wish"

    the second and the third are right!

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    aous02 is offline Member
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    Wink Re: Verb "to wish"

    ++ Wishes referring to present time are often contrary to fact. The past subjunctive form of the verb is used for such wishes.
    Eg: * I'm at home now. I wish (be at the beach).
    * I wish I were at the beach (Nt: only the form were is used for the verb be)

    ++ Wishes with would often represent present-to-futre time. Would is used for a wish that is possible to realize.
    Eg: *He is a nuisance. I wish (go away)
    *I wish he would go away.

    ++ Wishes referring to past time are not realized. Past perfect forms are used in such wishes.
    Eg: *I feel very uncomfortable. I wish (not eat so much)
    * I wish I had not eaten so much

    Are things clearer now? If not, don't hesitate.

    (NT: Am neither a teacher nor a native speaker)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Verb "to wish"

    At least in American English, all three are fine.

    The first says that I wish that you were in my employ, either right now or at some time in the past. (Yeah, looking back on that summer, I wish you worked for me instead of that idiot I ened up hiring instead.)

    The second is more of a request. I wish you would start working for me, although you do not now.

    The third says that although I would like for you to work for me, there is something that is preventing it. I wish you could work for me, but I know I can't pay you enough to make it worthwhile.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Verb "to wish"

    Thank you all for your quick replies to my doubts! I really found them helpful!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Verb "to wish"

    Quote Originally Posted by anamarji View Post
    Could you please tell me which of these forms is correct?:

    I wish you worked for me [A wish about a hypothetical future state of affairs: 'In my ideal world, you would be working for me.']
    I wish you would work for me [A wish about the preference of the person spoken to - the person spoken to doesn't want to: 'I wish you would work for me {but I know you prefer not too}' ]
    I wish you could work for me [A wish about something that may simply be impossible - the person spoken to is unavailable or incapacitated: 'I wish you could work for me {but I know you just can't}']

    ...
    All three, depending on context.

    b

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Verb "to wish"

    Thank you, BobK, for your explanations. I found them really clarifying. The different possibilities of use with this verb drive us, non-native speakers of English, a bit crazy, so thanks a lot again!

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