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    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 14
    #1

    Question I wish I

    Hello:

    If I say: "I wish I went to Harvard" Could I use: " I wish I would go to Harvard?

    Thanks.

  1. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #2

    Re: I wish I

    Yes. But in formal English, it means something slightly different.

    "I wish I went" means I do not go to Harvard, and I don't have the opportunity to go to Harvard, but life would be much better if I could go to Harvard.

    "I wish I would go" means that I do not go even though I have the opportunity: I am lazy, and this is frustrating.

    Obviously, you wouldn't normally say that. You might say something like, "Steve has so much talent, and he wastes it all -- I wish he would go to Harvard!" Or: "Jane has been here for four hours now, and she's so boring -- I wish she would just go home!"

    However, I have noticed some native speakers saying or writing "I wish I would go" when they mean "I wish I went". I don't recommend you do the same, but some people do use this construction. The context will usually make it clear what is actually meant.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #3

    Re: I wish I

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    Yes. But in formal English, it means something slightly different.

    I'm not sure that this is true, Rewboss. I'm not sure that it could be true. Does formal English have different meanings for different words?

    "I wish I went" means I do not go to Harvard, and I don't have the opportunity to go to Harvard, but life would be much better if I could go to Harvard.

    I believe you're offering way too much here for a simple factual statement. "I wish I went" means I do not go to Harvard. Full stop, for the sentence and the meaning. The rest does not necessarily follow.

    "I wish I would go" means that I do not go even though I have the opportunity: I am lazy, and this is frustrating.

    Something is amiss here. I don't believe ENLs use 'would' in this fashion. Is this not a volitional 'would'? It sounds strange to my ear to hear this in the first person, singular or plural. Do we question our own volition?

    Even if it's used in this meaning, and again, there's something just not right. The first few pages of a google search only had modal perfect examples.

    But again, I think that you're giving too specific a meaning for this statement.

    "I wish he/she/they (it) would go to Harvard" is a normal volitional collocation.


    Obviously, you wouldn't normally say that. You might say something like, "Steve has so much talent, and he wastes it all -- I wish he would go to Harvard!" Or: "Jane has been here for four hours now, and she's so boring -- I wish she would just go home!"

    Now we're talking.

    However, I have noticed some native speakers saying or writing "I wish I would go" when they mean "I wish I went". I don't recommend you do the same, but some people do use this construction. The context will usually make it clear what is actually meant.
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