Subjunctives with Wish/If Only
Subjunctives are sentence constructions used to express situations that contradict
with the real situations.
1. Subjunctive with wish
Wish can be used with several different tenses: wish + past simple, wish + past
perfect, and wish + would + in nitive.
a) Wish + past simple
This expresses an unrealistic desire for the present situation to be different
since there is very little chance of the change occurring.
Examples: I wish I lived in Australia.
I wish I had wings.
b) Wish + past perfect
This expresses a desire that an action or event in the past had been different.
Example: I wish I hadn’t decided to work in that company.
c) Wish + would + in nitive
This expresses a desire for a situation to change either now or in the future.
The change could possibly occur but it generally depends on action from
some other persons or things.
Example: I wish he would give up smoking.
2. Subjunctives with if only
If only can be used instead of wish in all three constructions above. If only has
a stronger and unrealistic meaning than
Example : If only I had wings.