Conditional or subjunctive

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What's the difference between "I wish you did" and "I wish you would do", "I wish it rained" and "I wish it would rain", "I wish you were taller" and "I wish you would be taller"?
  • Agrippa

    France - French

    "I wish you did"
    "I wish it rained"
    "I wish you were"

    All of these statements talk about something that you wish to be/happen right now, in the present. These situations are unreal. E.g. I can't be taller, even if you wish it to be so.

    As for your other examples (I wish you would . . .) - they essentially mean the same thing, but they generally contain a hint of criticism/annoyance.
    I wish you'd shut up.
    I wish you'd stop.

    (A tall girlfriend to her short lover): I wish you'd be taller than me



    Senior Member
    English - England
    A: "I always put my clothes away."
    B: "I wish you did" -> I wish that had been the case in the past.

    A:"I always put my clothes away."
    B: "I wish you would do." -> I don't accept what you say but I wish that, in future, you will put your clothes away."

    A: "I live in the Atacama Desert and I wish it rained" -> ...and I wish that there were a normal rainfall pattern.
    A: "The trees and the flowers are dying, I wish it would rain", -> I wish that there would be one occasion upon which it there is rain so as to water the plants.

    "I wish you were taller" -> "I wish it were possible that you were taller, but I know it is not."
    "I wish you would be taller"? [This is ridiculous: you are asking a person to comply with your wish and, somehow, grow taller.]


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Each of the examples will require its own discussion, so each sentence pair should have its own thread.
    Discussing them all in one thread will be too confusing.

    Please see the thread linked to above. These may also be helpful:

    You are welcome to add a question to any suitable existing thread.

    If no existing thread answers your question about one of your sentence pairs, you may start a new thread.

    I am closing this one.

    Cagey, moderator.
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