English Grammar


I wish I could

Conform to the grammar example "I wish I could" I formed my grammar question:
"I wish I bought".
But I was corrected by our GG computer who wanted me to write "I wish I had bought".
What's the reason, dear fellow-learners?
(CW)

6 comments

  • Good evening Gwendo,
    you are right to ask this question. The only sentence I found is: "I wish you were here". That means past tense after using "I wish".


    By the way: Is it a must have for a foreign minister to speek fluently English?


    C.w.
  • Thanks St. John for your helpful hand!


    But it's not the ultimate solution I think. You seem to to be as confused, irritated as me about that time-problem.


    Concerning your foreign minister in spe: To my mind some exercise in pronounciation would't hurt him. The local vievers would be grateful when the interviews wouldn't degenerate into a nail-biter, where they have to worry about the minister who just can't seem to recall the suitable translation or whether the staccato speech would come to an end.
    (CW)Wish you a nice holiday on that G Union Day
  • From St. Johann:
    Good evening Gwendo,
    (...)
    By the way: Is it a must have for a foreign minister to speek fluently English?


    C.w.

     


    Further to your welcoming C.w., St. Johann, I'd like to tell you that, if I were you, I'd rather say
    Is it a must have for a foreign minister to speak fluent English (adj. before noun)
    or
    ... to fluently speak English (adv. before verb)
    or
    ... to speak English fluently (adv. at the end of the clause to somehow stress the meaning of "fluently")
    See you,
    Sandy
  • From Gwendo:
    Thanks St. John for your helpful hand!


    (...) To my mind some exercise in pronounciation would't hurt him. The local vievers would be grateful when the interviews wouldn't degenerate into a nail-biter, (...)
    (CW)Wish you a nice holiday on that G Union Day

     


    Further to your welcoming (CW), Gwendo, I'd like to point out:
    they write to pronounce (verb) but pronunciation (noun)
    local viewers
    degenerate into nail-biting (an interview cannot be a biter)
    See you,
    Sandy
  • This is what I have in mind about your wish-problem, Gwendo.


    If there is a wish, it's about something that is not a fact but something there is a desire for.


    Let's consider the verb wish as transitive.
    If the object is a noun, no problem: I wish you luck.
    If the object is a clause, I personally would like to tell apart whether the desired object is still available or not.


    1.1. first case: the satisfaction of the wish is still possible, is likely to happen or is an entreat, or even an order.


    I'd use the pattern: wish + to-infinitive (same pattern as to want)
    I wish to win at the lottery. - (I want to win.)
    Horatio wishes to be left alone.
    Gwendo wished to get informed.
    I wish to buy that house.
    Lately I have wished to buy a house.


    There is also the grammar pattern: wish + object + to-infinitive
    I wish her to win the game.
    Let's wish Horatio to be left alone.
    I wish them to calm down.
    What do you wish her to do? I wish her to buy that house.
    (I don't think such construction would be used at the first person: instead of saying “I wish me to be upset” I'd say “I wish to be happy”.)


    Thirdly we may use the subjunctive for the relative clause. The subjunctive form suits possible case, in particular wishes that could be fulfilled. (present subj. uses the base form of the verb).
    I wish she win the game.
    Let's wish Horatio be left alone.
    What do you wish she do? I wish she buy that house.


    2. opposite case: the wish in unlikely to be fulfilled. We are dealing with unreal conditional sentences.


    If the wish regards a present of future situation, I think the past tense simple or continuous is to be used.
    I'm not wealthy but I wish I were.
    Why don't you buy a house? I wish I could but I can't afford it.
    I wish Gwendo bought the house that is to be sold tomorrow (not correct according to the GG computer which is to mad to catch what Gwendo means?), that would mean it's more than likely that she won't buy it. She told me : “I wish I bought the house tomorrow but I can't afford it.”


    If the wish refers to a past event or past situation, the relative clause should be put in the past perfect.
    At that time I wasn't well-off and couldn't buy a house. Now I wish I had been.
    The day after the house was auctioned Gwendo told me she wished she had bought it but she couldn't afford it.


    Now, Gwendo, I may sometimes have talked nonsense here above but be sure I wish it weren't so.


    So long,
  • I wish I had been able to savvy this grammar topic earlier. My life would have been much easier and less embarrassing.


    We can apply the 3rd if-clause, in which the conditional part refers to the past.


    "If I had been able ..., my life would have been much easier..."


    In the present:
    "If I were able ..., my life would be much easier..."


    My personal mnemonic for a simple-minded guy like me:


    When expressing an unlikely wish, apply the same tense in the conditional part as you do it in the if-clause - and everything is fine.


    I had to weigh in my stupid opinion, sorry...

Please sign in to leave a comment.