I wish it would be / was a bit warmer

sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani/Persian
The weather’s terrible today. I wish it ………. a bit warmer.
a)is
b)was (Answer Key)
c)would be
d)had been

Source: school exam

Hello,
Can option C (would be) also work in the test or not? You know why I'm asking this? Because once I had read that
we usually use [wish + would] when we complain about something.
For example:
Oh my God! It's raining again and we can't go on a picnic. What a pity! I wish it wouldn't rain so often here.
Can option C (would be) work in my test as a complaint?

Thank you
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    The difference between your quoted example and the test question is the "so often here". This is talking about something that happens repeatedly over time, so "wouldn't rain" works fine there. The weather today is a one-time occurrence so it needs to be "wasn't".
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I wish you would be nicer. I'm asking you to change your behavior in the future. You can do that. You will change.
    I wish the weather would be nicer. I seem to be asking the weather to change itself in the future. The weather can't do that.
    The test question is not about the future but the present. The future sense of "would" is not compatible.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    It may not be logical but it's very common to say "I wish it wouldn't get so hot in the summertime" or "I wish it would rain every day for a week", in my experience. I think the difference is whether you are speaking about a one-time event or a pattern.

    It's so hot today. I wish it were/was a little cooler. :tick:
    It's so hot today. I wish it would be a little cooler. :cross:
    The summers are so hot here. I wish they would be a little cooler. :tick:
     

    Ref_126

    Member
    Bilingual: English (US) - Italian
    How about this set of sentences, then?

    I wish you didn't smoke (= a pattern)
    I wish you wouldn't smoke (= a one-time event)


    It may not be logical but it's very common to say "I wish it wouldn't get so hot in the summertime" or "I wish it would rain every day for a week", in my experience. I think the difference is whether you are speaking about a one-time event or a pattern.

    It's so hot today. I wish it were/was a little cooler. :tick:
    It's so hot today. I wish it would be a little cooler. :cross:
    The summers are so hot here. I wish they would be a little cooler. :tick:
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    That's not really the difference. I wish you didn't smoke is expressing a desire for the person to not smoke at all. I wish you wouldn't smoke can also be used to express this but it can also be used to express a more limited context (for example, in my presence, or in this space).
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    That grates with me - I'd say "were". But perhaps there's a BE/AE difference.
    :thumbsup: The "were" is correct - it is the subjunctive that follows "I wish" - "I wish it were a little warmer today.":thumbsup: "I wish it would be a little warmer today.":cross:
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    That's not really the difference. I wish you didn't smoke is expressing a desire for the person to not smoke at all. I wish you wouldn't smoke can also be used to express this but it can also be used to express a more limited context (for example, in my presence, or in this space).
    I beg to differ. Each phrase could express either meaning, depending on the context.

    Smoking is always a choice, whether in general or in a particular case. Consequently, 'I wish you didn't smoke' is already referring to the other person's choice.
    The word 'wouldn't' is not needed to convey the idea of choice, but logically it cannot be wrong in this case to use it for that purpose.

    On the other hand, to do so in 'I wish you would be taller' makes no sense, since there is no possibility of a choice being exercised.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I would find "I wish you didn't smoke" to mean specifically right now in front of me (and I don't care what you do the rest of the time) extremely odd. In fact I have never heard it used this way.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I would find "I wish you didn't smoke" to mean specifically right now in front of me (and I don't care what you do the rest of the time) extremely odd. In fact I have never heard it used this way.
    For a single instance, is it not more likely to be put as a question: 'Would you mind not smoking?'
    However, if the situation is recurrent, 'I wish you didn't smoke' could apply to that repeated particular situation without referring to the other person's habit in general.

    The use of 'I wish' suggests there has been more than one occasion.
     

    verdas gong

    Member
    Hindi and Nynorsk
    That grates with me - I'd say "were". But perhaps there's a BE/AE difference.
    It is British textbooks and courses that advocate WAS so they can call it past tense, and not subjunctive in the general rule for 2nd conditional>

    If + past tense ---> would + bare-infinitive

    If I had more time, I would spend it with you.
    If I was richer, I'd travel more frequently.


    IELTS is the same.
     

    verdas gong

    Member
    Hindi and Nynorsk
    As for the question...
    I wish it was/were a bit warmer. is what I've been taught.

    You use would for the future, or with verbs expressing annoying actions taking place as we speak> I wish you would stop making that noise!

    • I wish you would stop making that noise.

    • I wish they would stop fighting.

    • I wish you would just shut up!

    • I wish Tom wouldn't snore so much...

    • I wish that dog would stop barking!

    • I wish this computer would stop crashing.

    • I wish my neighbor would turn that awful music down.

    • I wish this phone would stop ringing!
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    If I was richer, I'd travel more frequently.
    The Oxford English Grammar says this:
    If the verb in the conditional clause of a present or future hypothetical condition is 'be', subjunctive 'were' is sometimes used instead of indicative 'was' in the conditional clause, especially in more formal contexts.
    It is British textbooks and courses that advocate WAS so they can call it past tense, and not subjunctive>
    If your observation is correct, it may be that British textbooks have chosen to ignore this use of the subjunctive, in the mistaken attempt not to be too demanding of their students. I advocate the use of 'were' in such contexts generally.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    That grates with me - I'd say "were". But perhaps there's a BE/AE difference.
    :thumbsup:
    I have not spent much time systematically analysing this issue or the endless threads on numbered conditionals where would, was and were feature prominently but for me "I wish" followed by "would" seems to be much more common in general in AE than in BE. In the (currently) parallel thread I wish my mum wouldn't be so concerned about me I share the BE preference for were and hear would much more often in AE than in BE - wouldn't seems reserved for some specific subset of intended meanings. Perhaps it's how those subsets are distinguished that is what differs in AE and BE.
     

    DavidWC55

    New Member
    English - United States (Alabama)
    I know this is an old discussion now but I stumbled across this and wanted to add a conclusion I think I’ve reached about the difference in was/were VS “would be” in these sentences, after a decent amount of analysis...

    This may absolutely differ across dialects, but for mine, I sense that we can wish for actions to happen, and we can wish for states/conditions/descriptions/facts to be different (I will call these “states” but in a very broad sense).

    I would use “I wish X would....” if I’m wishing for an action... but I would use “I wish X was/were...” if I’m wishing the state of something were different from what it is... so, for example:

    It’s raining (a state) and I wish it were not raining (an alternate state)... here, the only truly natural way for me to say this is “I wish it weren’t raining” (and I recognize that many people would use “was” rather than “were” here).

    Now if I turn that into an action... rather than referring to a state of not raining, if I say I would like the action of “stop raining” to occur, I’d then say “I wish it would stop raining.”

    This would explain why “would” is used with the bothersome examples given above “I wish she would stop crying” (to stop doing something is an action), “I wish they would leave me alone” (action)... but “I wish they weren’t so mean” (state/description, and I wish it were the contrary of what it is)... “I wish it were warmer today” (same explanation).

    This may not capture 100% of the possibilities/differences (I wish it would be warmer here in the future, wouldn’t be explained by this, but if I’m being honest, that sentence... while I wouldn’t interrupt somebody who said it to make a big deal out of it... doesn’t sound that great to me either), but it’s the most accurate and reliable distinction I have come up with to understand my own usage(s).

    To drive my point home, consider:
    a) I wish he were my friend.
    vs
    b) I wish he would be my friend.

    In (a), being my friend is a state (he is, or he isn’t, and I am wishing for the contrary... in this case, he isn’t and I wish he were); but in (b), I’m turning it into an action “start being my friend” / “become my friend” / “make the decision to befriend me”, so the use of “would be” works... but on the surface (and even semantically), the difference would seem subtle, unrecognizable, or nonexistent.

    I hope somebody finds this helpful, and I also welcome friendly counterevidence to my points and/or explanations of dialectal differences.
     
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