An Online Catalogue of English Grammar Exercises

Wishing and Hoping! another tricky one!

You can 'hope' about something in the future. You can 'wish' about now or the past!

e.g. I hope you will be happy. (Of course you can also say 'I hope you were happy' and 'I hope you are happy'!) n.b. You can't say 'I wish you will be happy!' You have to say 'I hope you will be happy!'

'Wish' is different e.g. 'I wish you were happy' (in other words you are not happy now). 'I wish the weather was better' ( it isn't!) and 'I wish I had been to your country' (I haven't at any time in my life!). You say it like this because you are imagining something to be different, if you like you are dreaming, or hypothesizing in English.

To 'wish' about the future you do something different: e.g. I wish the weather would get warmer ('get' is an 'action', 'be' expresses a 'state'). You can't say 'I wish the weather would be warmer'.

Why is this correct? 1. I wish I didn't have to go to work today.

Why is this correct? 2. I wish the weather was better.

Why is this not correct? 3. I wish the weather would be better.

See information about 'State' and 'Action' verbs for help in The A-Z of English Grammar & Usage (shown on the Home Page).

Practice Exercise:

Make sentences with 'wish'. Explain why.

1. He wishes go to University when he 18 (he is now 40).

2. She wishes she born beautiful.

3. The economists and investors wish the economy in better shape.

4. 'I bet you wish you rich, don't you?'

5. I wish I have my camera with me today. The campus cat caught a mouse.

6. That's horrible. I wish you not tell me that. I gave him a saucer of milk! Now I feel sick!

7. I wish I be late every day! (I'm talking about my present habit!)


1. He wishes he had gone to University when he was 18.

2. She wishes she had been born beautiful (this is the passive form).

3. The economists and investors wish the economy was in better shape.

4. 'I bet you wish you were rich, don't you?'

5. I wish I had had my camera with me today....

6. .... I wish you hadn't told me that...

7. I wish I wasn't late every day.

The answer depends on whether the verb is seen as an activity or a state in English.

see The A - Z of English Grammar & Usage for the rules.

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