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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #5240: Hypothetical structures
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Find the correct tense [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Past tenses - Gerund - Expressing Uncertainty : may-might-must... - Preterite or Present Perfect - How to choose your past tense? (again!) - Infinitive with/without TO - As/ However /No matter + adjective - Future perfect and past Conditional
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    Hypothetical structures

    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'.


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    English exercise "Hypothetical structures" created by felin with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from felin]
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    1. If I his number, I would phone him. (know)

    2. I that coat if I were you. (not/buy)

    3. I you if I could, but I'm afraid I can't, (help)

    4. We would need a car if we in the country, (live)

    5. If we had the choice, we in the country, (live)

    6. This soup isn't very good. It better if it wasn't so salty, (taste)

    7. I wouldn't mind living in England if the weather better, (be)

    8. If I were you, I (not/wait). I would go now.

    9. You're always tired. If you (not /go) to bed so late every night, you would feel better.

    10. I think there are too many cars. If there were not so many cars, there so much pollution, (not/be)

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