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Unit 39. If I knew ... I wish I knew.




Unit 39; Part A

galka.jpgStudy this example situation:
39.1.jpgSarah wants to phone Paul, but she can't do this because she doesn't know his number.
She says:

If I knew his number, I would phone him.

Sarah says: If I knew his number ... . This tells us that she doesn't know his number. She is imagining the situation. The real situation is that she doesn't know his number.
 
When you imagine a situation like this, you use if + past
(if I knew / if you were / if we didn't etc.). But the meaning is present, not past:
•    Tom would read more if he had more time.  (but he doesn't have much time)
•    If I didn't want to go to the party, I wouldn't go.  (but I want to go)
•    We wouldn't have any money if we didn't work. 
(but we work)
•    If you were in my position, what would you do?
•    It's a pity you can't drive. It would be useful if you could.

Unit 39; Part B

galka.jpgWe use the past in the same way after wish (I wish I knew /I wish you were etc.). 39.2.jpgWe use wish to say that we regret something, that something is not as we would like it to be:
•    I wish I knew Paul's phone number.

     (= I don't know it and I regret this)
•    Do you ever wish you could fly?
     (you can't fly)
•    It rains a lot here. I wish it didn't rain so often.
•    It's very crowded here. I wish there weren't so many people.
 
     (there are a lot of people)
•    I wish I didn't have to work tomorrow, but unfortunately I do.

Unit 39; Part C

galka.jpgIf I were / if I was
After if and wish, you can use were instead of was
(if I were ... / I wish it were etc.). I was / it was are also possible. So you can say:
•    If I were you, I wouldn't buy that coat.       or       If I was you, ...
•    I'd go out if it weren't so cold.   
or       ... if it wasn't so cold.
•    I wish Carol were here.   
or       I wish Carol was here.

Unit 39; Part D

galka.jpgWe do not normally use would in the if-part of the sentence or after wish:

•   
If I were rich, I would have a yacht. 
(not If I would be rich)
•    I wish I had something to read.  (not I wish I would have)

Sometimes wish ... would is possible: I wish you would listen.
See Unit 41.

Unit 39; Part E

galka.jpgCould sometimes means 'would be able to' and sometimes 'was/were able to':

•   
You could get a better job   
     (you could get = you would be able to get)
       if you could use a computer.    (you could use = you were able to use)



Exercises

flag.jpg Put the verb into the correct form.
Key.3    'd help / would help
4    lived
5    'd live / would live
6    would taste
7    were/was
8    wouldn't wait ... 'd go / would go
9    didn't go
10  weren't ... wouldn't be


1    If I    knew    (know) his number, I would phone him.
2    I    wouldn't buy    (not / buy) that coat if I were you.
3    I _______________ (help) you if I could, but I'm afraid I can't.
4    We would need a car if we _______________ (live) in the country.
5    If we had the choice, we _______________ (live) in the country.
6    This soup isn't very good. It _______________ (taste) better if it wasn't so salty.
7    I wouldn't mind living in England if the weather _______________ (be) better.
8    If I were you, I _______________ (not /wait). I _______________ (go) now.
9    You're always tired. If you _______________ (not / go) to bed so late every night, you wouldn't be tired all the time.
10  I think there are too many cars. If there _______________ (not / be) so many cars, there _______________ (not / be) so much pollution.
flag.jpgWrite a sentence with if ... for each situation.
Key.2    I'd buy it / I would buy it if it weren't/wasn't so expensive. or    ... if it were/was cheaper.
3    We'd go out / We would go out more often if we could afford it.
4    If I didn't have to work late, I could meet you tomorrow.   or ... I'd meet / I would meet... or ... I'd be able to meet ...
5    We could have lunch outside if it weren't raining / wasn't raining.
6    If I wanted his advice, I'd ask for it / I would ask for it.


1    We don't see you very often because you live so far away.
      If you didn't live so far away, we'd see you more often.       
2    This book is too expensive, so I'm not going to buy it.
      I'd ____________________ if _____________________!   
3    We don't go out very often - we can't afford it.
      We  _____________________________________________
4    I can't meet you tomorrow - I have to work late.
      If  _____________________________________________
5    It's raining, so we can't have lunch outside.
      _____________________________________________
6    I don't want his advice, and that's why I'm not going to ask for it.
      If _____________________________________________
flag.jpgWrite sentences beginning I wish ... .
Key.2    I wish I had a mobile phone.
3    I wish Helen were/was here.
4    I wish it weren't/wasn't (so) cold.
5    I wish I didn't live in a big city.
6    I wish I could go to the party.
7    I wish I didn't have to work tomorrow.
8    I wish I knew something about cars.
9    I wish I were feeling / was feeling better.


1    I don't know many people (and I'm lonely).   I wish I knew more people.   
2    I don't have a mobile phone (and I need one).  I wish ________________________
3    Helen isn't here (and I need to see her). ________________________   
4    It's cold (and I hate cold weather! ________________________  
5    I live in a big city (and I don't like it). ________________________   
6    I can't go to the party (and I'd like to). ________________________   
7    I have to work tomorrow (but I'd like to stay in bed). ________________________
8    I don't know anything about cars (and my car has just broken down). ________________________
9    I'm not feeling well (and it's not nice). ________________________
flag.jpgWrite your own sentences beginning I wish ...
Key.Example answers:
1    I wish I was at home.
2    I wish I had a big garden.
3    I wish I could tell jokes.
4    I wish I was taller.


1    (somewhere you'd like to be now - on the beach, in New York, in bed etc.)
      I wish I _______________________________
2    (something you'd like to have - a computer, a job, lots of money etc.)
      _______________________________
3    (something you'd like to be able to do - sing, speak a language, fly etc.)
      _______________________________
4    (something you'd like to be - beautiful, strong, rich etc.)
      _______________________________


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