We use I wish… or If only… to talk about imaginary situations, usually the opposite of what is true.
– wish/If only + Past Simple —> wishes about states or activities in the present.
eg. I wish Australia was closer.
– wish/If only + Past Continuous —> wishes about actions in progress.
eg. I wish I wasn’t working.
– wish/If only + Past Perfect —> wishes about past events or states.
eg. If only I had known you were coming. (but I didn’t know)
– wish/If only + could + infinitive —> wishes about abilities or possibilities.
eg.I wish I could drive a car.
– wish/If only + would + infinitive —> wishes about things that other people do that you would like to change but is out of your control. This is often
used to show annoyance at a frustrating situation
eg. I wish he would stop smoking.
– after wish constructions we often add a clause with but + subject + auxiliary verb
eg. I wish I could travel without worrying about money, but I can’t.
I wish I hadn’t insulted my boss, but I did.