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Wish Agreement

Tense agreement

grandfather
 

 

My Father's Wish

My father wished he could have finished high school when he was young, but he had to go to work to support his family instead.  When I was born, he wished that I would not only finish high school but also go to college. He worked hard to send me to college. I managed to graduate with honors.

Now, I have a child and I wish that he will go to college.  I encourage him to work hard.  I wish he would understand how hard his grandfather and father have worked to give him a good life. He doesn't comprehend it right now, but I hope he will when he is older.

 

 

 

Hypothetical Past Wishes

A PAST WISH ABOUT AN EARLIER EVENT

Wished is complemented by a past modal or past perfect verb form, and express regret about something that did not happen at an earlier time.  (optional that)

WISHED PAST PERFECT / MODAL

My father wished

that he had gone to college. (regret)

My father wished

that he could have gone to college. (regret – unable)

My father wished

that he could have afforded to go to college. (regret – unable)

*My father wished

that he went / would have gone to college. (had gone)

A PAST WISH ABOUT A LATER EVENT

Wished is complemented by a past modal —could, would, might— and express hope about something that could happen at a later time.

WISHED PAST MODAL

My father wished

that I would go to a good university.

My father wished

that I could get into a good university.

My father wished

that each generation might be better than the one before it.  (formal wish)

*My father wished

that I will go / was going to college. (would go)

 

afford (v.) – have enough money to buy
complemented – completed
hypothetical (adj.) – assumed by hypothesis (theory); unreal conditions or situations
regret (n.) – a  feeling of sadness, loss, or fault, being sorry
PP – past perfect
*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hypothetical Wish

Present

 

 

 

Wishes about ealier, present or future events

EARLIER

Wish is complemented by a past modal or past perfect verb form, and express regret about something that did not happen.

WISH PAST PERFECT / MODAL

I wish

that my father had understood my appreciation.    (He didn't.)

I wish

that my father had been closer to me¹.    (He wasn't.)

I wish

that my father would have understood my appreciation.(He didn't.)

I wish

that my son could have met this grandfather. (He couldn't.)

LATER

Wish is complemented by the preterit or past modal –could, would— and expresses regret about something that is not happening or will not happen.

WISH PAST / MODAL

I wish

my son understood hIs grandfather's efforts. (He doesn't yet.)

I wish

my son were / was closer to me¹.  (He isn't.)

I wish

my son would understand the importance of hard work. (He doesn't yet.)

I wish

my son could travel to Cuba where his grandfather was born. (He cannont.)

 

¹closer to someone – emotionally closer, able to share feelings
preterit
– past tense verb form
was (informal) / were (formal)  If I was / were…  preterit verb form. Irrealis (Huddleston 3 §1.7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Wish

Real

 

 

 

A wish that can become true

A PAST WISH ABOUT A FUTURE EVENT

Wished may be complemented by an infinitive clause, and express a desire for something to have happened at an earlier time.

WISHED INFINIVITE CLAUSE

My father wished

to go to college.

My father wished

to offer his children a brighter future.

WISH INFIN CLS WITH SUBJECT

My father wished

for me to go to college.   

My father wished

for his children to have a brighter future.

A PRESENT WISH ABOUT A FUTURE EVENT

Wish may be complemented by an infinitive clause, and express a desire for something to happen in the future.

WISH INFINIVITE CLAUSE

I wish

to go to college.

I wish

to offer my children a brighter future.

WISH INFIN CLS WITH SUBJECT

I wish

for my son to go to college.

I wish

 

for his children to have a brighter future.

 

infinitive clause (nonfinite clause)   Verb + Infinitive: expressing intent about future activity.
*They wish me to go to school. See imperatives.

 

 

 

Wish — that-clause vs. infinitive clause

THAT-CLAUSE

A wish may also be expressed with hope, desire, would like, would love, and with a that-clause and will or would.

WISHING VERB THAT-CLAUSE

My mother hopes

(that) I will be an engineer.

My father hoped

(that) I would be an engineer.

My uncle prays

(that) I will be happy.

INFINITIVE CLAUSE

Also, wishes are commonly expressed with these words followed by an infinitive clause.

WISHING VERB INFINITIVE CLAUSE

My father wished

(for) me to become an engineer. 

My father wanted

(for) me to be happy.

My uncle would like

  

(for) me to be happy.

 

that-clause (finite clause)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

I wish  I can go to graduate school.

I wish  my son to go to graduate school. (a wish or an imperative?)

I wish I was a college graduate.  (This is nformal but not incorrect.)

SOLUTION

I wish  to go to graduate school. (a real possibility)

I hope I can go to graduate school.

I wish  my son would go to graduate school.

I want my son to go to graduate school. (imperative)

I wish I were a college graduate. (formal English)

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Graduating

graduate

 

 

 

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Click the "check all" button at the bottom of the practice to reveal the answers after you finish, or
    click the individual "check" buttons #1-10 to compare responses as you go.

 

1.
My path through college wasn't easy or direct. My father and I had disagreements about my future.
When I started to apply to colleges, my father wished that I engineering .

2.

3.

4.
However, I was only accepted into business school in another state.

5.

6.

7.
(I'm not.)

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Birthday Wish

 

 

 

My parents told me to make a wish for my birthday.  I wished for an iPad.  They looked very disappointed with my wish. 

My father said, "You could wish to have world peace, or good health, or or a little brother or sister." 

I said, "Like really?  For my birthday, I just want an iPad so that I can look things up whenever I need to." 

My mother said, "I wish you would spend less time on the computer."

I answered, "I wish you would spend time online with me so that you could see all the things you can do and learn on the Internet."

My father said, "I wish I had time to sit around and play games all day."

I said, "That's not what I do.  I wish you could see that."

My mother said, " If that is your wish, then I will."

They gave me an iPad for my birthday with the condition that I spend time with them while using it.

Mom sat down with me and learned how to use Facebook to keep up with family news from my cousins and aunts and uncles.

Soon, I hope that Dad will be interested in doing online games, such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku.

Next year, on my twelth birthday, I think I'll wish for another iPad so that they will have their own one. — Adam, age 11

 

 

Use the discussion above to decide if the sentence is correct or incorrect.

  1. Select Correct or Incorrect.
  2. Then, compare your response to the answer by clicking the individual "check" buttons or the "Check All" button.

 

11.
For my birthday, I wished I had an iPad.

   

12.
My father wished that I had wished for something else.

   

13.
I wish I have an iPad so that I can look things up online.

   

14.
My mom wished I would spend less time on the computer.

   

15.
I wished that they spent more time with me online.

   

16.
My mom agreed and said she wished to spending time online with me.

   

17.
They gave me the iPad I was wishing to have.

   

18.
Mom wishes that she reads what my cousins are doing by reading Facebook posts.

   

19.
I wish I to interest Dad in online crossword puzzles.

   

20.
I think my mom wishes she has her own iPad now.