English Grammar in Use – Unit 40: If I had known / I wish I had known…

  • English Grammar Class
  • Coursebook: English Grammar in Use
  • Unit: 40
  • Topic: Conditional Sentences and the Use of ‘if’ and ‘wish’:

Part A:

Study this example situation:
Last month Gary was in hospital for a few days. Rachel didn’t know this~ so she didn’t go to visit him. They met a few days ago.
Rachel said:
If I’d known you were in hospital, I would have gone to see you.
Rachel said: If I’d known (=If I had known) you were in hospital. This tells us that she didn’t know.
We use if+ had (‘d) … to talk about the past (if I had known/been/done etc.):
I didn’t see you when you passed me in the street. If I’d seen you, of course I would have said hello. (but I didn’t see you)
I didn’t go out last night. I would have gone out if I hadn’t been so tired. (but I was tired)
If he had been Looking where he was going, he wouldn’t have walked into the wall. (but he wasn’t looking)
The view was wonderful. If I’d had a camera with me, I would have taken some pictures. (but I didn’t have a camera)
I’m not hungry. If I was hungry, I would eat something. (now)
I wasn’t hungry. If I had been hungry, I would have eaten something. (past)

Part B:

Do not use would in the if-part of the sentence. We use would in the other part of the sentence:
If I had seen you, I would have said hello. (not If I would have seen you)
Note that ‘d can be would or had:
If I’d seen you, (I’d seen= I had seen)
I’d have said hello. (I’d have said = I would have said)

Part C:

We use had (done) in the same way after wish. I wish something had happened= I am sorry that it didn’t happen:
I wish I’d known that Gary was ill. I would have gone to see him. (but I didn’t know)
I feel sick. I wish I hadn’t eaten so much cake. (I ate too much cake)
Do you wish you’d studied science instead of languages? (you didn’t study science)
Do not use would have .. . after wish:
The weather was cold when we were on holiday. I wish it had been warmer. (not I wish it would have been)

Part D:

Compare would (do) and would have (done):
If I’d gone to the party last night, I would be tired now. (I am not tired now – present)
If I’d gone to the party last night, I would have met lots of people. (I didn’t meet lots of people- past)
Compare would have, could have and might have:
we would have gone out.
we could have gone out.
If the weather hadn’t been so bad, (= we would have been able to go out)
we might have gone out. (=perhaps we would have gone out)

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