Structures after Wish

Wish + Wouldn / Wouldn't

We use wish + person /thing + would to talk about things we want to happen, or stop happening because they annoy us.

Do NOT use wish + would for a wish about yourself.

I wish I would


I wish cyclists wouldn't cycle on the pavement

I wish you'd spend a bit more time with the children

I wish the bus would come. I'm freezing.

It annoys me that my sister doesn't tidy our room

I wish my sister would tidy our room

It annoys me that shop assistants aren't more polite

I wish shop assistants would be more polite

I annoys me that it doesn't stop raining

I wish it would stop raining

It annoys me that you drive so fast!

I wish you wouldn't drive so fast

Wish + past simple or past perfect

  • We use wish + past simple to talk about things we would like to be different in the present /future but which are impossible or unlikely.

I wish I was /were taller

After wish, we can use was or were with I, he, she, it.

  • We use wish + past perfect to talk about things that happened or didn't happen in the past, and you now regret
  • If only: We can also use if only instead of I wish in all these structures


I wish I had naturally blonde hair!

I wish I could speak French. It would be useful in this job

I wish I hadn't been an only child. I'd love to have brothers and sisters.

I wish we had bought more expensive seats. I can't see a thing.

I'd love to be able to play the piano. I wish I had learnt when I was a child.