I wish you came to my party(wishes)


Senior Member
1."I wish you came to my party."
2."I wish you had come to my party."

I'm having trouble understanding the use of the two sentences above because according to an explanation that a teacher gave to her students in a video lesson, both sentences mean the same and both normally refer to the past. But I've been reading about the use of "wish" and found the following definitions online:

1."When the subordinate clause refers to the same time as the main clause, the Simple Past Subjunctive is usually used in the subordinate clause."
2."We use I wish:
With a past form (usually but not always past simple) to talk about regrets about the present."

So, while the teacher says that both sentences refer to the past and that "the only way that those(the two sentences) would work in referring to the present is if you called the person while the party was going on," the two definitions I've cited suggest that we only use the past subjunctive after "wish" when we talk about regrets and when "the subordinate clause refers to the same time as the main clause." And that's why I think it's not correct to use sentence number 1 to talk about the past, and I don't understand why the teacher says the following in the video: "for the last two(the two example sentences) the party is in the past; it's over." "In any case with the last two(the example sentences) the option to come does not exist anymore. That's the idea, so it could potentially be in the present, or you could be talking to them three days later." After this explanation, I still don't understand how come sentence number 1 can be used to talk about the past.

In addition, here is an example that seems to suggest that sentence number 1 is only used to talk about a regret in the present:

"Complete the sentences using the given clues.
7. Why can’t you come to my birthday party?
7. I wish you came to my party"

So, is it correct to use sentence number 1 as the teacher says in the video? Why yes? Why not?
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    The most natural choice there for me is (2):
    2."I wish you had come to my party." The party is over and I'm expressing regret that my friend didn't or couldn't come.

    (1) doesn't work for me: I think it just sounds odd. You could say it as:
    1a."I wish you came to my parties." I've had parties on a number of occasions but my friend never comes.

    The other natural alternative is:
    (3) "I wish you were coming to my party" I'm having a party but my friend can't come.
    And that one, I would say, is a much more idiomatic match to the question in Example (7). :)
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