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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default wish + past tense

    Wish as in changing reality, for example
    I don't have a dog - I wish I had a dog
    Today is Friday - I wish it were Saturday
    I speak English - I wish I spoke French
    I can't drink milk - I wish I could drink milk

    Ok, this is fine, wish + past tense or wish + could + simple form

    I wish I changed (my appearance e.g.)
    I wish I rode an elephant ....problem!

    I wish I could change my appearance.
    I wish I could ride and elephant Could is necessary.

    Why is this so and what other verbs does this apply to?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: wish + past tense

    If the verb after wish is an action verb, use 'would' or 'could' instead of the past simple. It refers to the future.

    For example:
    (Everyone changed out of their uniforms to casual dress except you)
    I wish I (had) changed clothes.
    -This refers to the past, and your regret that you didn't do something.

    (It's hot and you're wearing sweats)
    I wish I could change clothes.
    -This talks about the future and refers to the action of changing.


    The previous examples you gave all described states.
    I don't have a dog - I wish I had a dog
    Today is Friday - I wish it were Saturday
    I speak English - I wish I spoke French
    I can't drink milk - I wish I could drink milk

    So any verb that is used as an action requires 'would' or 'could.'

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