Wish in English Grammar: Guide & Examples

We use the verb wish in English when we want a situation to be different to what it actually is.

Wish can be used as a verb or a noun, these are some sentences in which the word wish is used as a noun

  • She made a wish
  • Best wishes
  • It has always been my wish to go to South Africa
  • I am going to grant you three wishes
  • He sends you his best wishes.

There are many type of sentenced that we can make with the verb ‘wish’

  • I wish to speak to Lawrence Fishburn please
  • They wish these people to leave
  • I wish I spoke French well
  • She wishes she was spending time with her children
  • I wish I hadn’t eaten so much.
  • I wish I could have a better house
  • I wish you would stop making so much noise.

Wish + Infinitive

When we use wish followed by a verb in the to-infinitive form.

  1. I wish to speak to Mr Campos, please
  2. I wish to visit you in the summer, if possible.
  3. I wish to go now
  4. I wish to learn the truth about what happened.
  5. I wish to speak to your supervisor, please
  6. I wish to speak to the manager

Wish + object + to + infinitive:

In the same way, we can use ‘wish’ with an object and an infinitive.

  • I do not wish you to publish this article.
  • I wish these people to leave.
  • I wish these people to stop making so much noise

Wish + Past Simple

We use wish + past simple to express that we want a situation in the present  to be different.

  1. I wish I spoke Italian.
  2. She wishes she was on a beach.
  3. I wish it was Friday
  4. I wish I lived in Spain
  5. I wish that we didn’t have to go to school today
  6. She wishes it was June
  7. I wish that you weren’t busy tomorrow
  8. I wish that I had a big house
  9. He wishes  he had a lot of money
  10. I wish I lived somewhere more interesting
  11. I wish that I had a big car.
  12. They wished that you lived close to the beach

Wish + Past Continuous

We use wish + past continuous to express that we want to be doing a different action in the present

  1. I wish I was lying on a beach now.
  2. They wish it wasn’t snowing
  3. He wishes he was leaving tomorrow
  4. I wish it wasn’t raining.
  5. She wishes she was surfing in Samara Beach
  6. I wish you weren’t leaving tomorrow.
  7. She wishes she was swimming at the pool.
  8. I wish I was eating Italian Food in Rome
  9. I wish I was going to the gym more often
  10. She wishes she was working in another organization
  11. He wishes he was doing something more fun

Wish + Past Perfect

We use wish + past perfect to express a regret, or that we want a situation in the past to be different.

  1. I wish I hadn’t eaten so much.
  2. I wish they’d come on holiday with us.
  3. She wishes she had written down the phone number.
  4. I wish I had studied harder at school.
  5. I wish I hadn’t spent so much money last month
  6. I wish I had drunk so much last night
  7. I wish I had brought my camera.
  8. They wish they had studied more for their exam
  9. I wish I had studied harder for the exam
  10. I wish she hadn’t come
  11. I wish he hadn’t made that mistake
  12. I wish I had worked harder when I was at school.

Wish + Could

We use past tense modals would and could to talk about wishes for the future

  1. I wish I could have a better house
  2. I wish I could speak Spanish
  3. She wishes she could drive a car
  4. I wish that Mike could help me with math
  5. I wish I could see you next week
  6. I don’t like my work. I wish I could get a better job.

I wish I would

We use “wish” + would + infinitive to express dissatisfaction with the present situation.

  1. I wish you would stop making so much noise.
  2. I wish that you wouldn’t eat all the chocolate
  3. I wish that it would stop raining
  4. I wish that noise would stop
  5. I wish you would stop smoking
  6. She wishes he would talk to her more often
  7. I wish you would stop drinking
  8. I wish my parents would let me stay up late
  9. I wish Jenny wouldn’t ask so many questions. 
  10. I wish my boss would consider my ideas

I wish I were

This can be a little confusing for those who are learning English but In more formal English, we use the subjunctive form ‘were’ and not ‘was’ after ‘wish’.

  • I wish I were taller.
  • I wish it were Saturday today.
  • I wish he were here.
  • I wish I were a millionaire
  • I wish I were rich

Good Wishes

You can also use ‘wish’ with a noun to ‘offer good wishes’.

  • I wish you all the best in your new job.
  • We wish you a merry Christmas.
  • I wish you nothing but success in your new life
  • I wish you nothing but the best in the coming weeks

Wish and Hope

We use Hope to express something we want to happen in the future

  • I hope it’s sunny tomorrow.
  • I hope she passes her exam next week.
  • I hope she gets the job

Wish Grammar: Exercises

These are some exercises which can help you practice what you have already learned today

  1. Wish Grammar Exercises
  2. Wish Exercises
  3. Wishes

Wish Grammar: PDF

These are some PDF files that you can check and even download so you can understand more about how to use the verb wish

  1. How to Use Wish in English
  2. I wish in English
  3. Wish Clauses
  4. Wish in English + Past Perfect Practice
  5. Wish in English

Related Information

These are some posts about grammar that you might find helpful

  1. Transitive Verbs List: 125 Examples
  2. Prefixes and Suffixes Examples
  3. Full Guide to Gerunds in English
  4. List of Intensifiers and Mitigators
  5. Demonstrative Pronouns Examples
  6. 100 Linking Words Examples
  7. Embedded Questions Examples
  8. 9 Types of Pronouns in English
  9. 3 Types of Conditional Sentences
  10. 50 Grammar Lessons for the TOEIC
Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English