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ESL forum > Ask for help > I need your help    

I need your help


I need your help

David walked into the house, smiling to himself. His mother was waiting in the living room. "You (must have, must have had, would have had) ______________________ a good day. You look pleased with yourself. Tell me all about it," she said.

"I did," David replied. "I have been chosen to be on the school football team. I (to practice) ______________________regularly for the last three months and I know I am playing (good, hardly, well) ___________________ at the moment. I have to be careful, though. I don ´t want (some, any, such) ______________________ more accidents to this knee of mine. If we (to win)____________________the championship, we will have a chance to play for the area team as well."

"I wish you (to pay) ______________________ more attention (to, at, on) ______________________ your homework. You have exams in (three week, three weeks ´, three weeks) ______________________ time and you need to study too, you know," his mother said.

"I would rather (to play) _________________football than study, but don ´t worry. I intend to pass my exams too," David replied.

After that discussion, his mother was sure that he (to pass) ______________________ all his exams and she was glad that her son learned to manage his time.

19 Mar 2017      

United Kingdom

Must have had/ I have been practising/ playing well/ any more accidents/ If we win/ I wish you would pay../to your hwk/ in three weeks ´ time/ I would rather play fb/ sure that he would pass.../Silly woman

19 Mar 2017     


Thank You Very Much!!!!

19 Mar 2017     

Czech Republic

Would it be also possible to use: I wish you paid more attention to your homework. in this context? I understand the mother is complaining, but would there be any difference if past was used? Thanks.

19 Mar 2017     

United Kingdom

Oto, now you mention it, yes.
I think ´I wish you would pay... ´ is a kind of instruction and hope for his future actions, whereas, ´I wish you paid.. ´ is more general, an observation of his behaviour... I ´m sure others can explain the difference better, but that option is definitely right.

19 Mar 2017     

United States

@Oto. I agree with Lynne that "I wish you would pay more attention to your homework" is the best choice in the context of the narrative because the mother is clearly talking about the current situation, not her son ´s  life in general. But, as Lynne said, "I wish you paid more ..." is grammatically correct, and would not explicitly contradict anything in the context, so it would be acceptable.

19 Mar 2017     

Czech Republic

Dear Lynne and Bruce,
Thanks for your explanations. I hadn’t even doubted Lynne’s first answer. I was and always am curious about nuance differences which I cannot grasp as a non-native teacher of English. I really appreciate the help of yours and of all other native speakers here at this site. So, thanks again for your time and ceaseless effort to enlighten the understanding of non-natives.

19 Mar 2017     

United Kingdom

Oto, I think I speak for all the natives on here when I say it ´s a pleasure to help out. I mention this because today it ´s International Day of Happiness and I ´m putting a ws together: What makes you happy? So today, I wish everyone a great day. Be happy! (It ´s hard sometimes though, eh?) 

20 Mar 2017     


I am not a native, but I ´ve been  taught / and read in textbooks/grammar sources/ encountered  that when you  wish to express  annoyance or wish for a change in someone ´s behaviour (behavior :) )  then I wish you would do something is the best choice.  So, definitely, I wish you would pay more attention is the best choice. (as opposed to the use of the past simple in the wish clause - I wish you could pay more attention/ you had more patience/ you were more patient etc. , which express the change in someone ´s state/state of mind, situation etc...)

20 Mar 2017     

United Kingdom

Dear Giorgi:

The Verb ‘To Wish’ (‘To Wish’ = ‘To’ Infinitive; ‘Wish’ = ‘Bare’ Infinitive.)

We use the Past Perfect Tense and the Past Progressive Tense of the Verb ‘Wish’ to talk about wishes regarding the PRESENT and the FUTURE.

The Verb ‘Wish’ + the Past Simple Tense is used when we want a situation which exists in the present, (or the future), to be different to what it is now.

Tom wishes he didn’t live in London.
I wish snow wasn’t forecast for tomorrow.
I wish I worked somewhere more interesting, because this place is boring.
As Christmas approaches, every mother wishes that she had more free time.
Margaret, I wish you were more patient with your children. They’re only little!
I wish it was Friday! I can’t wait for the weekend.

The Verb ‘Wish’ + the Past Progressive Tense is used when we want to be doing a different action to the action that we are doing now.

I wish Tom wasn’t leaving next Friday, but was staying for another week.
I wish I was lying on a beach and not working in a stuffy office.
I wish we were travelling by train next week It’s much quicker than by bus.
I wish it wasn’t raining, because it’s so cold.
I wish I was drinking iced tea, instead of eating hot spaghetti.
I wish I wasn’t teaching French tomorrow. I prefer teaching German.

We use the Past Perfect Tense of the Verb ‘Wish’ to talk about wishes regarding the PAST, allowing us to express regret, (to feel sad or disappointed), about the past; or that we want a situation which existed in the past to be different.

Tom regretted that that he had not passed any exams at school.
After her accident, Jill regretted that she had not listened to her mother in the past.
We regretted getting married so young, because we had had no teenage holidays.
Now that John is getting divorced, he wishes that he had made a will earlier
I wish we had brought sandwiches with us, because I’m hungry!
During my childhood, I wish that my father had been more patient with me.

We use the Modal Auxiliary Verbs ‘Could’ and ‘Would’, (‘Wish’ + ‘Could/Would’ + Bare Infinitive), to talk about wishes regarding the FUTURE.

‘Could’ equals ‘possibility’ in the past: ‘Could’ equals ‘was able to’, ‘were able to’.

‘Would’ equals the Conditional Mood: ‘Would’ indicates, (in the imagination), the result or consequence of a real event or situation.

I wish that I could get a better job, because this one is so boring!
I wish we could go to France next year, during the school holidays.
His Dad wishes that he could stop Bill smoking, because it’s affecting his health.
Bob wishes that his father would stop shouting at him. It frightens him.
Peg wishes that her mother would increase her money allowance.
I wish the sun would shine, so that I could get a tan.

We use the Modal Auxiliary Verb, ‘Would’, (‘Wish’ + ‘Would’ + Bare Infinitive), to express Impatience, Annoyance, or Dissatisfaction with a situation.

I wish you would walk faster! We’ll be late for the train.
I wish Christmas would come! I can’t wait to get my Christmas gifts!
I wish Dad would go to bed. He must go to work early tomorrow.

I wish those children would stop screaming … they’re driving me crazy!
John! I’m trying to teach! I wish you would listen to what I’m saying!
Children! You are very untidy! I wish you would put your toys away!

My office hours are so long. I wish they would give us more free time!
Robert! You are so lazy! I wish you would help me with the housework!
Mum! I wish you would let me watch “Sky-Rangers” on TV. Please?

By contrast, we can use the Verb ‘Hope’ (very often in the Present Simple Tense), instead of the Verb ‘Wish’. This is when we want to express a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen NOW or in the FUTURE, or to have happened in the PAST. But it is NOT wanting something to be different, and it is NOT an expression of impatience, annoyance, or dissatisfaction).

I hope you are well.
I hope that you enjoy your meal, tonight, Sir!
I hope that you had a good holiday, last week.

I hope that I have helped you a little. Les

21 Mar 2017     


Excellent, Les!

21 Mar 2017