Talking about wishes

The phrase I wish I had… is the most common structure used to talk about our wishes. Here are some common wishes people have.

I wish I had more money.
I wish I had a bigger house.
I wish I was taller.
I wish I was more beautiful.

Note the use of past tense verbs in this structure.

In the phrase I wish I had… ‘had’ is the simple past form of the verb ‘have’. Instead of had, you can use the simple past form of other verbs as well.

I wish I spoke English fluently.
I wish I knew French.
I wish I looked prettier.
I wish I drove a Porsche.
I wish I lived in Singapore.
I wish I had a lovely voice.
I wish I knew more people.
I wish I could sing.

Note that we use past tense forms in this structure; however, we are not referring to the past in these sentences. Instead, we are merely expressing our wishes in the present.

To talk about past wishes, we can use the structure I wish I had had… Note that the second had in this structure is the past participle form of have. Past participle forms of other verbs are also possible in this case.

I wish I had had more money.
I wish I had worked harder.
I wish I had applied for that job.
I wish I had met him earlier.
I wish I had consulted him before investing my money in real estate.
I wish I hadn’t trusted him.
I wish I hadn’t listened to his advice.
I wish I hadn’t bought that house.
I wish I had trusted my own instinct.
I wish I had invited Jane to the party.
I wish I had married her.
I wish I had been more careful.