Grammar

I wish, if only, it’s time

  • Wish and if only + past simple/would

We use wish + past simple to talk about present situations when we are unhappy with the situation:

I wish we were still on holiday. (We aren’t on holiday now.)

We wish we didn’t live so far away. (We live too far away to see our friends.)

I wish we had a new car. (Our car keeps breaking down.)

If only means the same but it can have a little more emphasis:

If only I didn’t get angry so easily! (= I get angry easily, but I don’t like it.)

Note: We don’t use wish and if only with a present tense:

I wish I have a better job.       I wish I had a better job.

To express a wish about the future, we use hope + present tense verb, not wish:

I wish you have a good holiday.     I hope you have a good holiday.

We can use wish/if only + would (not) to talk about a habit in someone else that we would like to change:

If only Jenny would talk about her problems.

I wish you wouldn’t bite your nails!

      Wish and if only + past perfect

We use wish/if only + past perfect to talk about a past situation or action that we regret:

I’ve failed my exams. I wish I’d studied harder.

If only I hadn’t left my jewelry here. I left it in the drawer and it’s been stolen.

I’m really tired. I wish I’d gone to bed earlier.

Note: We don’t use wish/if only with the past simple if we want to talk about the past:

If only I didn’t shout at my boss last week.     If only I hadn’t shouted at my boss last week.

  •          It’s time and would rather

We use the past tense after it’s time and would rather when we are talking about the present.

  •                  It’s (about) time means we think that someone should do something:

      Come on – it’s time we went home.

      It’s about time you got on the plane.

  •                It’s high time + a past simple verb is stronger and suggests that he action is urgent:

     It’s high time you started looking for a flat of your own! You can’t stay here forever.

  •               We can also use the infinitive with to (with or without for + object pronoun):

     Come on – it’s time (for us) to go home.

     It’s about time (for you) to get on the plane.

We use would rather to say what we prefer:

    I’d rather we stayed at home. (= I’d prefer to stay…)

   We’d rather we didn’t go by plane. (= We’d prefer not to go…)

   Would you rather I paid you now or later? (= Would you prefer me to pay you now or later?)

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