Wish/so that: I wish I were rich so that I could buy a house.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by serarcag, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. serarcag Junior Member

    Mexican Spanish
    Hi, I am an ESL student and I don't know how to use "so that" in a wish sentence. I know how to do it using could, as in

    "I wish I were rich so that I could buy a house"

    but why if I'm not. I mean. What if I had:

    "If I were a movie star, I would be rich"

    and wanted to transform it into a wish...so that sentence

    Would it be: I wish I were a movie star so that I would be rich
    or: I wish I were a movie star so that I were rich

    In short, how do I make a sentence with "wish" and "so that" without using could.

    That might be easy for native speakers who identify these mistakes just by hearing, but not for me who am just learning (don't know if I wrote that correctly, "who am just learning", did I?:))

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Would it be: I wish I were a movie star so that I would be rich:cross:
    or: I wish I were a movie star so that I were rich:cross:

    In short, how do I make a sentence with "wish" and "so that" without using could.


    What is your objection to "could"?
    "I wish I were a movie star so that I could be rich" is the only way to say this that makes any sense to me if you insist on this form.
    "I wish I were a movie star; I'd like to be rich" works.
     
  3. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I'm not sure if the second sentence works. Wait for further replies.
     
  4. mtmjr

    mtmjr Senior Member

    California/Ohio (US)
    English (US)
    "I wish I were a movie star so that I could/would be rich." Using "could" implies that being is possible, "would" implies that it is probable. I see nothing wrong with the use of "could" and I prefer it in this sentence.

    "...who is just learning." But, I would instead say, "...but not for me since I am just learning."
     
  5. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    I don't think it's wrong to say "I wish I were, so that I were...". However, I think it is a form that has fallen out of use. My impression is that it sounds archaic. There seems to be few examples of it on the web, and only a couple sound authoritative, and they are from 100s of years ago.

    I would avoid it, personally, particularly if you are a non-native English speaker; it would be quite likely to be taken as an error.

    I also wonder why you wish to avoid modals (whether it be could or would), as I'm afraid this is likely to result in unnatural speech.
     
  6. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I wish I were a movie star so that I could be rich. :tick:
    I want to be a movie star so that I can be rich.

    I wish I were a movie star so that I might be rich. :tick:
    I want to be a movie star so that I may be rich.

    I wish I were a movie star so that I would be rich. Unlikely sentence
    I want to be a movie star so that I will be rich.

    The "so that" clause in such a wish sentence tells the reason I wish or want something. The reason to want to be a star is usually the potential benefit of being rich, not the inevitability of being rich or the wanting to be rich.
     
  7. johndot Senior Member

    English - England
    The only type of sentence that I can think of, using ‘wish’ without ‘could’ but with ‘so that’ is:

    I wish, so that I don’t have to face reality.

    But that is not conditional which is the thread topic.
     
  8. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I wish I were a movie star so that I could be rich. :tick:
    I wish I were a movie star so that I might be rich. :tick:
    I wish I were a movie star so that you would like me. :tick:
    I wish I were a movie star so that I should not have to worry about money. :tick: (maybe a little old fashioned)
    I wish I were a movie star so that I didn't have to worry about money. :tick:
    I wish I were a movie star so that I had a small fortune. :tick:(maybe a little unusual)
    I wish I were a movie star so that I were rich. Sounds archaic
    I wish I were a movie star so that I would not have to worry about money. :tick:
    I wish I were a movie star so that I would be rich. Unusual
     
  9. mtmjr

    mtmjr Senior Member

    California/Ohio (US)
    English (US)
    I don't really see why "...so that I would be rich" is so unusual. I keep repeating it in my head and it keeps sounding just fine to me. What I would do though is contract it to:

    I wish I were a movie star so that I'd be rich.
     
  10. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Would sounds natural to me in this type of sentence unless I compare would with could and didn't:

    I wish I were a movie star so that I could be rich. [I wish I could be rich, so I'm hoping to become a movie star.] I wish I were a movie star so that I didn't have to worry about money. [I wish I didn't have to worry about money, so I'd like to become a movie star.]
    I wish I were a movie star so that I would be rich. [I wish I would? be rich, so I want to be a movie star.]

    Why is "I wish I would be rich" any stranger than "I wish I could be rich" and "I wish I didn't have to worry"? Or is it?
     

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