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Why is there such a phrase as "I wish I may"? Shouldn't it always be "I wish + past tense" as it is in the second conditional (unreal/imaginary situation)?
You said modals are tenseless, in that case "I wish I will" should be used. I can't find "I wish I will" on the web concordancer. Modals have tenses, both present & past. "Could" is the past tense of "can" and "would" is the past tense of "will" etc.
These sites below only state "wish + past tense" and that "wish" goes with "would"
wish - grammar - central - British Council - LearnEnglish
She wishes she had a new car. - This sentence is not the past, obviously, because it refers to a distant possibility now - in the present. She wants a new car, but doesn't have one, and it seems very unlikely that she will have one anytime soon. This is why she can say "I wish I had a new car now, but I have to save some money before I can buy one." or I wish I could be a new car, but I can't". In these sentences, "had" and "could", of course, do not refer to past time, which is why it is possible to say that they express distant possibilities in the present.
Where did you hear or read the phrase "I wish I may"?
Other than this question, are you clear on which verb forms and modal auxiliaries follow "wish"?
Last edited by PROESL; 26-Sep-2009 at 17:33.
The phrase I've heard: "I wish I may, I wish I might".
What about "I wished"? Should it be in the third conditional since it's in the past? As in "I wished I had seen".
When I was living in Manchester, I always wished I lived closer to Boston, but now that I am closer to Boston, I wish I lived closer to Manchester now. Also: I always used to wish that I lived closer to Boston.
You can use "had seen" after "I wish". - I wish I had seen that movie.
It's also possible after "I wished". - I always wished that I had seen that movie, but never did, and now that I know it really wasn't that good, I no longer wish that I had seen it.
When you say "wished", it's also possible to say "used to wish".
I used to wish that I had moved down south, but not anymore. I don't think I would've like it.
In fact, I have to say that using "I used to wish" sounds like a more typical and more natural expression in this sentence than saying "I wished I had moved down south ...". It's clearer that the speaker no longer wishes this, and it's likely that the wish was extended for some time. This is made clearer by using "used to" instead of "ed 'wished'"
Last edited by PROESL; 26-Sep-2009 at 17:31.
[I'll try to find you a link, Lycen.]
You've provided one in your OP, I wish I may.
We have some modals that are used to express greater distance, more doubtful and some that do the opposite end of the spectrum, the more likely end.
A wish, by definition is something that extremely unlikely to impossible to happen, so of course those modals that illustrate these conditions are the ones that are used.
Last edited by albeit; 26-Sep-2009 at 04:16.
Just in this thread, I wrote,
"This doesn't apply to modal verbs, Lycen, for modal verbs are tenseless".
Everybody calm down. There is no sense in letting things get out of hand.