There are different types of ‘wish’ structures:

1. Wanting a change of state
2. Wishing for ability
3. Regret
4. Annoyance / want for external activity to stop or start
5. Congratulations

Wanting a change of state
(wish + past tense)

I wish I had more money.
I wish I didn’t have to work tomorrow.
He wishes he lived in a bigger house.

Wishing for ability
(wish + could)

I wish I could fly.
I wish I could speak French.
I think she wishes she could kill her boyfriend.

(wish + past perfect)

I wish I hadn’t drunk so much.
She wishes they had never got married.
They wish they had taken the earlier flight.

Annoyance / Irritation
(wish + would)

I wish the kid next door would stop screaming.
He wishes they would stop asking him to work weekends.
She wishes they would pay her more.

Formal Congratulations
(wish (+adj) + noun)

We all wish you a happy retirement.
I wish you a merry Christmas.
They wish you all the best for the future.


– Hope is used for present or future wants.
– The structure for hope is ‘hope’ + clause.

Hope + present tense

Hope + present tense can be used for things you want to happen now, or for things you want to happen later.

I hope this is the last time we do this.
I hope you are having a good time.
I hope I pass my driving test.
She hopes he comes on Friday.

Hope + future

Hope + future is only used for things you want to happen in the future.

She hopes she will be able to come to the party.
They hope she will give them a good bonus this year.
I hope you won’t get angry when I tell you this.

Hope for congratulations

Because using ‘wish’ for congratulations is quite formal, many people use ‘hope’ structures when speaking with friends.

I hope (that) you have a good birthday.
I hope (that) you enjoy your holidays.
They all hope (that) he has a pleasant retirement.

Short expressions using ‘hope’

– ‘I hope so’
(= I hope that is the case)

– ‘I hope not.’
(= I hope that is not the case)


1. Answer these questions:
(i)What do you wish was different about your life?
(ii) Is there anything you wish you had or hadn’t done in the past?
(iii) Does anything annoy you? What do you wish would happen?
(iv) What do you hope will happen in the future?

2. Try to make examples for each of the different methods of using ‘wish’ and ‘hope’.