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Unit 38. If I knew … I wish I knew …
(использование оборотов If I knew… и I wish I knew…)

Study this example situation:

Sue wants to phone Paul but she can't do this because she doesn't know his number. She says:

If I knew his number, I would phone him.

Sue says: If I knew his number… This tells us that she doesn't know his number. She is imagining the situation. The real situation is that she doesn't know his number.

Unit 38. If I knew… I wish I knew…

When you imagine a situation like this, you use if + past (if I knew / if you were / if we didn't etc.). But the meaning is present, not past:

We use the past in the same way after wish (I wish I knew /I wish you were etc.). We use wish to say that we regret something, that something is not as we would like it to be:

  • I wish I knew Paul's phone number. (= I don't know it and I regret this)
  • Do you ever wish you could fly? (you can't fly)
  • It rains a lot here. I wish it didn't rain so often.
  • It's very crowded here. I wish there weren't so many people. (but there are a lot of people)
  • I wish I didn't have to work. (but I have to work)
Unit 38. If I knew… I wish I knew…

After if and wish, you can use were instead of was (if I were /I wish it were etc.). So you can say:

We do not normally use would in the if-part of the sentence or after wish:

Sometimes wish … would is possible (‘I wish you would listen’). See Unit 40 Would I wish … would
(использование данных оборотов).

Note that could sometimes means ‘would be able to’ and sometimes ‘was/were able to’:

See Unit 37 If I do … and If I did …
(использование оборотов If I do … и If I did …)

See Unit 39 If I had known … I wish I had known …
(использование оборотов If I had known … и I wish I had known …)

See Unit 40 Would I wish … would
(использование данных оборотов)

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