Wish | Using Wish

We can use wish + infinitive to mean want. Note that progressive forms are not used.

  • wish to speak to the manager, please. (NOT I am wishing …)
  • If you wish to fix an appointment, please telephone after six o’ clock.

An object + infinitive structure is also possible.

  • The accused said that they did not wish their photos to appear in the papers.

Note that wish + object is not normally possible without a following infinitive.

  • want/would like an appointment with the manager. (NOT I wish an appointment …)

Wish + that clause

Wish can be followed by a that-clause (that can be dropped in an informal style). In this case, wish does not mean ‘want’ – it expresses regret that things aren’t different, and refers to situations that are unreal, impossible or unlikely.

  • wish (that) I was better-looking.
  • Don’t you ever wish that you could fly?
  • wish I earned more money.

Wish + that-clause is not generally used for wishes about things that seem possible in the future. We often use hope in this sense.

  • hope you feel better tomorrow. (NOT I wish you felt better tomorrow.)

In a that-clause after wish, past tenses are used with a present or future meaning.

  • wish (that) I spoke French. (= It would be nice if I spoke French.)
  • I wish I could fly. (NOT I wish I can fly.)

Past perfect tenses are used for wishes about the past.

  • wish you hadn’t said that.

I wish you …

Wish is used with two objects in some fixed expressions of good wishes.

  • wish you a speedy recovery.

Progressive forms are possible.

  • Here’s wishing you all the best in your new job.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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