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If I knew... I wish I knew...
When you imagine a situation like this, you use if + past (if I knew / if you were / if we didn't etc.). But the meaning is present, not past:
• Tom would read more if he had more time, (but he doesn't have much time)
• If I didn't want to go to the party, I wouldn't go. (but I want to go)
• We wouldn't have any money if we didn't work, (but we work)
• If you were in my position, what would you do?
• It's a pity you can't drive. It would be useful if you could.
We use the past in the same way after wish (I wish I knew / I wish you were etc.). We use wish to say that we regret something that something is not as we would like it to be:
• I wish I knew Paul's phone number. (= I don't know it and I regret this)
• Do you ever wish you could fly? (You can't fly)
• It rains a lot here. I wish it didn't rain so often.
• It's very crowded here. I wish there weren't so many people, (but there are a lot of people)
• I wish I didn't have to work, (but I have to work)
After if and wish, you can use were instead of was (if I were / I wish it were etc.). So you can say:
• If I were you, I wouldn't buy that coat, or If I was you...
• I'd go out if it weren't raining. or ...if it wasn't raining.
• I wish it were possible. or I wish it was possible.
We do not normally use would in the if-part of the sentence or after wish:
• If I were rich, I would have a yacht, (not 'If I would be rich')
• I wish I had something to read, (not 'I wish I would have')
Sometimes wish...would is possible ('I wish you would listen').
Note that could sometimes means 'would be able to' and sometimes 'was/were able to':
• You could get a job more easily ==> (you could get = you would be able to get)
if you could speak a foreign language. ==> (you could speak = you were able to speak)
Put the verb into the correct form.
'Pas de contractions'.
English exercise "Hypothetical structures" created by felin with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from felin]
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