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    • Join Date: Sep 2009
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    #1

    I wish I may

    Hi,

    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)?


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
    • Posts: 422
    #2

    Re: I wish I may

    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    Hi,

    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)?
    This doesn't apply to modal verbs, Lycen, for modal verbs are tenseless. Second conditionals are not only unreal/imaginary, they also describe 'unlikely' and they extend all the way to 'likely' in the sense that there's personal choice in describing the same situation.


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
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    #3

    Re: I wish I may

    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
    http://faculty.washington.edu/marynell/grammar/wish.html


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
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    #4

    Re: I wish I may

    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    Hi,

    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 are correct. However, we can also think of past tense verbs or modal auxiliaries that follow "wish" as expressing distant possibilities.

    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.


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    #5

    Re: I wish I may

    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".


    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 2,036
    #6

    Re: I wish I may

    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    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".
    It can be, but it doesn't have to be. It depends on the sentence.

    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.


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
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    #7

    Re: I wish I may

    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    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.
    'will' doesn't work because it is semantically inappropriate. I've discussed this and I've given some examples in other threads to show that these are not issues of tense, they are semantic issues.

    [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.


    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    Modals have tenses, both present & past. "Could" is the past tense of "can" and "would" is the past tense of "will" etc.
    Well, Proesl is having a deuce of a time coming up with any examples to illustrate that modals have tense, as is everyone else. Perhaps you can provide some, Lycen.


    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    These sites below only state "wish + past tense" and that "wish" goes with "would"

    wish - grammar - central - British Council - LearnEnglish
    http://faculty.washington.edu/marynell/grammar/wish.html
    Past tense verbs are used in English to show greater distance, more deference, greater politeness, more doubt and the HISTORICAL past tense forms also do this, as was noted above. Just because they say lexical past tense forms collocate with 'wish' and some modals also collocate with 'wish' doesn't mean we can assume that modals also have tense.
    Last edited by albeit; 26-Sep-2009 at 04:16.


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    #8

    Re: I wish I may

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    You've provided one in your OP, I wish I may.

    Well, Proesl is having a deuce of a time coming up with any examples to illustrate that modals have tense, as is everyone else. Perhaps you can provide some, Lycen.
    You are the one that said that modals have tense. I never said that. You should not attribute words to people that they never said. Do you always do this, or just at this forum?


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
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    #9

    Re: I wish I may

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    You are the one that said that modals have tense.
    I did?!!

    Just in this thread, I wrote,

    "This doesn't apply to modal verbs, Lycen, for modal verbs are tenseless".

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    I never said that. You should not attribute words to people that they never said. Do you always do this, or just at this forum?
    It's good to have you on board, Proesl, even if you've dragged yourself up dirty and bloody. Do you want to or should I make note at the "be supposed thread" that you've retracted your assertion that would is the past tense of [?] in reported speech?

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    #10

    Re: I wish I may

    Everybody calm down. There is no sense in letting things get out of hand.




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