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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > hi, wish phrase help    

hi, wish phrase help

Russian Federation

hi, wish phrase help
hi, can someone explain? If i want someone to live near me, how do I say with wish? 1. I wish he lived near me. 2. I wish he would live near me? whats difference? big thanks

23 Oct 2015      


"wish" usually refers to something that didn �t realize in the past, unlikely to be realized in the present or the future:
He didn �t pay attention  - he wishes he had paid attention
I don �t live in New York  - I wish I lived in New York
She isn �t coming tonight - I wish she were coming tonight
Perhaps native speakers may contribute and give better explanations

23 Oct 2015     

United Kingdom

Hi Slavchik,
To extend gharbi �s very clear answer, I would add this:
First, you have to remember that ‘live’ is similar to a state verb in that it’s not an action that somebody does. It can be used in present continuous - but that’s a whole different story!

So if you are wishing for something that is unlikely to happen, it’s perfectly natural to say “I wish you lived closer to me”. You are not asking the other person to DO something directly, you are just saying how you feel.

If you want to use the construction to ask the other person to DO something, then you COULD say “I wish you would live closer to me” but it sounds a little strange because, as I said, “live’ is not a very “active” verb.

So a more natural way of saying it might be:
“I wish you would come and live closer to me” or “I wish you would move closer to me”. This is still not a direct way of asking, but it’s more direct than “I wish you lived closer to me”.

“I wish you would…” is often used to make a negative comment or criticism. My mother always used to tell me “I wish you would stop making that awful noise with your guitar”.

I think the reason “I wish you would…” is used more often in situations where you want someone to change their actions/behaviour, is because “would” in this case is the past tense of “will”, so you are talking more clearly about a possible future rather than a hypothetical present. As gharbi showed, this use of “wish” requires a past tense form afterwards (you can use the infinitive, but that’s a different function and used only in very formal situations, e.g. "I wish you to leave now")

So to summarise:

“I wish he lived near me” = I would be very happy, but I don’t expect it to happen (it �s a dream)
“I wish he would (come and) live near me”. = I wish he would choose to come and live near me - a little more hopeful or complaining and direct.

I hope you get your wish ;-)


23 Oct 2015