Grammar: Wish, If only and hope

Today we are going to learn when we use the expressions Wish, If only and Hope.

Wish and If only have a more pesimistic thought, meanwhile, Hope has a more optimistic thought about something.


Wish/ If only:

Wish/ If only + past simple:

We use this expression to say we would like a present situation to be different.

I wish I had a warmer jacket. (This one doesn’t keep me warm)

If only it was summer holidays. (But it isn’t- I’m still working)

Note: This use is similar to second conditional, it uses a past tense to refer to something which is contrary to the facts in the present.


Wish/ If only + would:

We use this expression when:

we want something to happen.

I wish my car would start. (It can’t make it start and I want it to start)

we want someone to start doing something or stop doing it.

If only my mum wouldn’t phone me every 5 minutes.


Wish/ If only + past perfect:

To talk about things which we are unhappy abouth which happened in the past.

He wishes he had studied harder when he was at school.

Note: This use is similar to third conditional, it uses past perfect tense to refer to something which is contrary to the facts in the past.



We use hope when we want something to happen or to be true, and usually we have a good reason to think that it might.

Hope + present/ future tense:

with a future meaning, specially when the subject of the two sentences is different:

I hope you have a good holiday.

She hopes her students will get a high grade.


Hope + infinitive:

when there is only one subject to the sentence.

He hopes to go into politics in the future.


Hope + past simple:

when we want something to be true about the past, but we don’t know if it is true.

I hope you had a good flight (but we don’t know if you had a good flight)


Info from: Complete First book, Cambridge University Press

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