- We use wish + past simple to talk about things we would like to be different in the present / future (but which are impossible or unlikely).
We use wish + past perfect to talk about things which happened / didn’t happen in the past and which we now regret.
We sometimes use that after wish.
- You can also use If only… instead of wish with the past simple and past perfect. This can be used by itself (If only I knew!) or with an other clause.
If only is slightly more emphatic than wish.
When we want to talk about things we want to happen or stop happening because they annoy us, we use wish or if only + person / thing + would = infinitive, e.g. I wish the bus would come! | If only he wouldn’t keep whistling when I’m working!
- We can use were instead of was for I / he / she / it after wish and if only.
- We use would rather + subject + past tense to express a preference.
We can also use would rather + infinitive without to when there is no change of subject, e.g. I‘d rather not talk about it. However we cannot use this structure when the subject changes after would rather, e.g. I‘d rather you didn’t talk about it.
- We use the past simple after It’s (high) time + subject to say that something has to be done now or in the near future.
We can also use It’s time + to + infinitive when we don’t want to specify the subject, e.g. It’s time to go now.