I wish I could/would win or won the lottery

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ariel66, May 26, 2010.

  1. Ariel66 Senior Member

    Hello everyone,
    what is the right sentence among the following?

    I wish I could won the lottery.
    I wish I won the lottery.
    I wish I would won the lottery.

    I wish my children worked harder at school.
    I wish my children would work harder at school.
  2. cclh5 Member

    English - USA
    I wish I could *win* the lottery.
    I wish I won the lottery.
    I wish I would *win* the lottery.

    Both of the last two are acceptable.
  3. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    I agree wiht cclh5, except for a slight disagreement about this sentence:
    I wish I won the lottery.
    It is true that in colloquial speech, you may hear the simple past used as it is here. However, this sentence would be considered incorrect in standard written English. I would use the form of the simple past after I wish only if I were speaking of an ongoing activity, or state of being:
    I wish I worked on the railroad.
    I wish I knew Arabic.

    If I were talking about a single event like winning the lottery, I would use the past perfect:
    I wish I had won the lottery.
    Here is a related discussion that may interest you:
    I wish he had known it or I wish he knew it
  4. e174043

    e174043 Senior Member

    I'd say this sentence in a situation like that ;
    A: Did you won the lottery?
    B: As usual, of course not. but ... I wish I had won the lottery.

    But if you say "I wish I would win the lottery"

    A: John, the numbers have been said?
    B: Not yet. I'm watching. I wish I would win the lottery.

    That's my opinion. I'm not native so of course I may have mistakes.
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  5. cclh5 Member

    English - USA
    "would won" and "could won" are never correct. It should be "would win" and "could win"
  6. I disagree.

    I wish I won the lottery
    - Refers to a future event. Perfectly correct and standard US English (won is a past subjunctive, triggered by I wish in the main clause)

    I wish I had won the lottery
    - Refers to a past event (had won is a past perfect subjunctive, triggered by I wish in the main clause).
  7. iskndarbey Senior Member

    Lima, Perú
    US, English
    I agree 100% with colcan, "I wish I won the lottery" refers to winning the lottery in the future; "I wish I had won the lottery" refers to winning to lottery in the past.
  8. I agree with you 100 per cent, Cagey.

    The original question, while legitimate, was already sort of a question on how to conjugate wish/won together, with the suggestions themselves throwing us into maybe a past, maybe a future, and we can't do all those things in one moment, so the intent of what is desired isn't clear.

    Also, the verbs wish and hope, to me, already are "subjunctive verbs" by their very nature since already something has not occurred in any tense time except for the act of wishing right now.

    While wish and win have future and past tenses, I will wish, I wished,/ I will win, I won, they are not desired here in these constructions as I understand the intents.

    I would more easily use hope to express some future desire:

    I hope (that) I win the race next Tuesday. Trying to use wish instead sounds excruciatingly awkward and redundant to me. (I wish that I will win?)

    In some now, where I am presently wishing some event in the past which had in fact occurred one time and was over, and where the fact that "I first ran in a race but did not win" is not stated but understood, I certainly would express it in past perfect:

    I wish I'd (I had) won that race that Saturday! (first came I ran the race, that is understood, not stated)
    and in your example,

    I wish I had won the lottery. (first came I placed a bet on the lottery, or I played the lottery,etc, first action understood, not stated)
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  9. Ariel66 Senior Member

    YES, you are right,
    I am sorry Cagey,
    I made a mistake by writing won instead of win. But in the title I put win.
    Anyway, I was in doubt wether using could win, would win or just won.
    In the site where I found this example they said : should win, but I dont agree with that.

    I thought the possible options are:
    I wish I would win....
    I wish I could win....
    I wish I won........

    But is any of them more correct?
  10. Zsuzsu Senior Member

    Budapest, Hungary
    Hi Ariel,

    I am not a native but this is my answer, anyway:

    I wish I would...:cross: never works (no matter what verb you have after that).

    I wish I could and I wish + simple past:
    they can both be used for a future event. You use hope and not wish, however, for wishes about things that seem possible in the future. It's up to you then to decide, if it is possbile or not to win the lottery...;)
  11. e174043

    e174043 Senior Member

    Zsuzsu, unfortunately you're wrong. Let me explain.

    (a) It is raining. I wish it would shop. ( I want it to stop raining.)
    (b) I'm expecting a call. I wish the phone would ring. (I want the phone to ring.)

    Would is usually used to indicate that the speaker wants something to happen or someone other that the speaker to do something in the future. The wish may or may not come true.As you can see from the examples, you can use "would " to express or talk about your future expectations or wishes
  12. Zsuzsu Senior Member

    Budapest, Hungary
    Hi e174043,

    I think we do agree.

    I wrote "I wish I would" is always wrong (not I wish somebody else would...)

    EDIT: There are some, however, who find this structure acceptable in certain contexts. See this thread.
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  13. Ariel66 Senior Member

    Hi Zsuzsu,
    In fact,
    I know that would is used whenthe speaker wants the someone else or something stops doing an action, above all something annoying. And I was not reallly convinced of the use of would win.
    Thanks to you and the others as well.

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