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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    if x wish

    If I had a car, I'd drive every day. I wish I had a car
    If I bought a car, I'd drive every day. I wish I could buy a car.

    I can't explain why it's not right to say "I wish I bought a car". Can anybody help me?

  2. Snowcake's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: if x wish

    I'd say

    I wish I bought a car

    is correct as well.

    The meaning is different.

    You use wish to say that you regret something, that something is not as you would like it to be. You use past after I wish, but the meaning is present, not past.

    Hence, I wish I bought a car means

    I don't have a car and I regret this.

    It would be better if you qualified the statement. As in: I wish I bought a car in London last week .

    So, you don't have a car now, you didn't buy one in London last week .

    I wish I could buy a car means

    You can't buy a car now. For example because you cannot afford it. Maybe you could afford it in the future if you saved enough money.


    The emphasis is different.


    I hope I'm not telling you something wrong.

    Snowcake
    Last edited by Snowcake; 28-Mar-2008 at 03:03.

  3. beachboy's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: if x wish

    "I wish I bought a car last week in London" is wrong. You'd have to say "I wish I had bought a car", meaning that you didn't buy it, or even "I wish I could have bought a car", meaning you couldn't buy it. If I could have a guess, I'd say that the difference between "I wish I had a car" and "I wish I could buy a car" is that to have is a verb of state, and to buy is a verb of action, but it's not clear for me.

  4. Snowcake's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: if x wish

    I think you're right with this

    You'd have to say "I wish I had bought a car"

    Sorry it's late at night. I should not think about those confusing things at this time. ;)

    Let's wait for a teacher to have reliable information.

    Snowcake
    Last edited by Snowcake; 28-Mar-2008 at 03:15.


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    #5

    Re: if x wish

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    If I had a car, I'd drive every day. I wish I had a car
    If I bought a car, I'd drive every day. I wish I could buy a car.

    I can't explain why it's not right to say "I wish I bought a car". Can anybody help me?
    You helped yourself, BB. You wrote,

    "If I [could have a] had to guess, I'd say that the difference between "I wish I had a car" and "I wish I could buy a car" is that to have is a verb of state, and to buy is a verb of action, but it's not clear for me."

    The fact situation for this is,

    "I didn't buy a car."

    The opposite/the counterfactual to that is,

    "If I had bought a car, OR "I wish I had bought a car"

    The other fact situation is,

    "I don't have a car."

    The opposite/the counterfactual to that is,

    "If I had a car." OR "I wish I had a car."
    Last edited by riverkid; 29-Mar-2008 at 17:16.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #6

    Re: if x wish

    English speakers use "wish" to show that they want a situation to be different. The verb after "wish" is one tense back, so that if you are wishing for a different present situation, the tense that follows "wish" is past simple or past continuous. If you are wishing that a past situation was different, the tense that comes after "wish" is past perfect. You can also use "wish" with modal verbs in English.

    Wish and present situations
    Situation: My sister is untidy. (Verb "to be" in the present simple)
    Wish:I wish she was tidier. (Verb "to be" in past simple)

    Situation: I am going to London next week. (Verb "to go" in present continuous)
    Wish: "I wish I wasn't going to London next week." (Verb "to go" in past continuous)

    Situation: I haven't studied for the English test. (Verb "to study" in present perfect)
    Wish: "I wish I had studied for the English test." (Verb "to study" in past perfect)

    Wish and past situations
    Situation: I didn't go on holiday this year. (Verb "to go" is in past simple)
    Wish: "I wish I had gone on holiday this year. (Verb "to go" is in past perfect.)

    Wish with modal verbs
    With 'could' to refer to ability

    Situation: I can't play a musical instrument.
    Wish: "I wish I could play a musical instrument."

    With 'would' to refer to habits and free will

    Situation: He whistles in the office.
    Wish: I wish he wouldn't whistle in the office. (In this sentence you are stressing the fact he wants to whistle and makes a habit of it.)

    You could also say: "I wish he didn't whistle in the office." (In this sentence you aren't stressing his desire to whistle, but you are just making a comment about a present situation.)

  5. beachboy's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: if x wish

    If I had had money, I would've bought a car. I didn't have money, so I didn't (couldn't) buy a car.
    When the situation is past, wish is not a problem for me. The problem arises when it comes to present (verb in the past)
    If I had a car, I'd drive every day (but I don't have a car, so I can't drive every day).
    If I bought a car, I'd drive every day (but I can't buy a car, so I can't drive every day).
    I just don't know how to explain that, while I say I wish I had a car, referring to the first sentence, I say I wish I could buy (and not bought) in the second one.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #8

    Re: if x wish

    If I had a car, I'd drive every day. I wish I had a car
    If I bought a car, I'd drive every day. I wish I could buy a car.

    I can't explain why it's not right to say "I wish I bought a car". Can anybody help me?


    If I buy a car (today), then I could drive it every day.
    If I bought a car (later on today) then I could drive it every day.(-future)
    I wish I could buy a car so I could drive it every day.

    If I have bought a car that is stolen, then I cannot (legally) drive it .
    I wish I had (not) bought a stolen car ...

    If I had bought a car then I could/would be driving it every day.
    I wish I had bought a car because now I would be driving it every day.
    I wish I had bought a car so that I could have driven it to the party last week.

    Understand that 'if...then' sentences are Conditional and such sentences have their tenses.
    'I wish' sentences have their own tenses.
    Which of the constructions above do you have trouble with?
    Last edited by David L.; 28-Mar-2008 at 12:19.

  6. beachboy's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: if x wish

    None of them. They look and sound very clear. My problem is that I can't explain why it's wrong to say I wish I bought a car.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #10

    Re: if x wish

    Sorry, but from a native speaker's perspective, you are just repeating,
    " I is " sounds fine to me so why can't I use it - why is it wrong?
    We say "he is" and "she is" and 'he' and 'she' are singular - ('they' is plural and takes 'are') - so if 'I' is singular, why can't I use " I is "?

    Because it's wrong. It is "I am".
    Period.
    Last edited by David L.; 28-Mar-2008 at 22:16.

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