15) The use of ‘Wish’ and ‘Hope’ Reply

This is a page devoted to understanding how we use the verb ‘to wish’ in English. Watch the following video to learn all about how we use this verb. Then sing a ‘karaoke’ song to better assimilate the use of ‘wish’ (to express regrets in the past) and then do some online exercises to make sure you’ve understand the important points. Good luck!

How do we use the verb ‘to wish’?

We use wish to express present and future unattainable desires:

  1. We use wish + past simple to express that we want a situation inthe present (or future) to be different.
    • I wish I was a dog. (I’m a cat)
    • I wish I spoke English like a native speaker. (I don’t speak English very well.)
    • I wish I had a Ferrari. (I don’t have one.)
    • I wish I was on the beach now. (I’m in the office.)
      Future: I wish it was the weekend tomorrow. (It’s only Thursday tomorrow.)
  2. We use wish + past continuous to express that we want to be doing a different actionin the present (or future).
    • I wish I was lying on a beach now. (I’m sitting in the office.)
    • I wish it wasn’t raining. (It is raining.)
    • I wish you weren’t leaving tomorrow. (You are leaving tomorrow.)

Wishes about the past

  1. We use wish + past perfectto express a regret, or that we want a situation in the past to be different.
    • I wish I hadn’t eaten so much. (I ate a lot.)
    • I wish they’d come on holiday with us. (They didn’t come on holiday with us.)
    • I wish I had studied harder at school. (I was lazy at school.)

Wish + would

  1. We use wish + would + bare infinitiveto express impatience, annoyance or dissatisfaction with a present action.
    • I wish you would stop smoking. (You are smoking at the moment and it is annoying me.)
    • I wish it would stop raining. (I’m impatient because it is raining and I want to go outside.)
    • I wish she’d be quiet. (I am annoyed because she is speaking.)

Wish and hope

  1. To simply express that you want something to happen in the future (not talking about wanting an action or situation to be different, and not talking about impatience or annoyance) we use hope, not wish.
    • I hope it’s sunny tomorrow.
      NOT I wish it was sunny tomorrow.
    • I hope she passes her exam next week.
      NOT I wish she were passing her exam next week.
    • I hope the plane doesn’t crash tomorrow.
      NOT I wish the plane wouldn’t crash tomorrow.

Wish and want

  1. We can use wish + infinitive or wish + object + infinitive to mean wantin a formal situation.
    • I wish to leave now. (+ infinitive)
    • I wish to speak to your supervisor please. (+ infinitive)
    • I do not wish my name to appear on the list. (+ object + infinitive)

Wish in fixed expressions

  1. We can use I/We wish youin fixed expressions.
    • I wish you a happy birthday.
    • We wish you good luck in your new job.


  1. In connected speech catenation and elision often occur with wish.
    • I wish I’d studied harder: /wI ʃaɪd/
      (catenation – the last consonant sound of wish is joined to the vowel sound in I)
    • I wish he hadn’t done that: /wI ʃiː/
      (catenation and elison – as above, and the first consonant sound in he is elided)


Now listen to a song sung by the fabulous American singer and actressEmmanuel Rossum* in the film Phantom of the Opera directed by Joel Schumacher (followed by the ‘Karaoke’ version with the words to sing along with) :

  * (from Wikipedia) Emanuel Rossum was born in New York, New York,[1] the only child[2][3] of Cheryl, a single mother who worked as a corporate photographer and an investment banker. She was named after her grandfather, whose first name was Emanuel, using the feminine spelling Emmanuelle.[4] She is the niece of Vera Wang, to whom she is related by marriage. Her mother is Jewish and her father is Protestant.[5] Rossum’s parents divorced before she was born and she only met her father twice while growing up.[6]

Upon singing “Happy Birthday” in all 12 keys,[7] Rossum was welcomed to join the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus by chorus director Elena Doria[8] at the age of 7.[9] Over the course of five years, she sang onstage with the chorus and had the chance to perform with other opera greats, such as Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. For anywhere from $5 to $10 a night, Rossum sang in six different languages in 20 different operas, including La bohème, Turandot, a Carnegie Hall presentation of La damnation de Faust, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.[10] She also worked under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli in Carmen. Rossum joked in interviews that her vocal talent and affinity for music developed because her mother always listened to classical music and operas while she was pregnant with her.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s