Wish Wish means we would like the reality to be different, but its not. Wish is followed by a noun clause: I wish (that)… The verb inside the noun clause is in the unreal conditional form. I wish (that) you were here now.
A wish about the future I’m not going to pass level 5. I WISH I WOULD pass, or I WISH I WERE GOING TO pass level 5. But the truth is that I am not going to pass level 5. T’s not going to go back to his country for the break. T WISHES HE WERE GOING BACK to his country, or T WISHES HE WOULD GO BACK to his country. But the truth is that he is not going to go back. Bernadette can’t come to my house anymore. Bernadette WISHES SHE COULD COME to my house again. (In truth, Bernadette can come whenever she wants to!)
A wish about the present Dalexa doesn’t speak French. Dalexa WISHES SHE SPOKE French (now). Osamahis sitting in class now. OsamahWISHES HE WEREN’T SITTING in class now. Amir can’t speak Arabic. Amir WISHES HE COULD speak Arabic. I don’t have enough time to teach all the grammar. I WISH I HAD more time. Most people wish they had more time and more money!
A Wish about the Past Saeed didn’t come to my party. Saeed WISHES HE HAD COME to my party. Che couldn’t come to my party. Che WISHES HE COULD HAVE COME to my party. One student didn’t pass the level. That student WISHES HE HAD STUDIED more (but we cannot change history!).
Hope Hope means we want the reality to be different, and it’s a real possibility. Obama talked about hope and change. He hoped to change America; in other words, he thought it was truly possible to do so. Like wish, hope is also followed by a noun clause: I hope (that)… However, unlike wish, the verb inside the noun clause is NOT in the unreal conditional form. I hope (that) you can join us.
Hopes for the future I hope that it won’t rain tomorrow, or I hope that it doesn’t rain tomorrow.(It could rain tomorrow; it’s really possible.)I hope that all of the students pass to the next level, orI hope that all of the students will pass to the next level.(It’s really possible!)I hope that you’re not hungry later, orI hope that you won’t be hungry later.(Again, it’s a real possibility, so you had better eat something!)Notice that the verb inside the noun clause can be either in the present tense or in the future tense to express the future.
Hopes for the Present We can talk about a hope in the present when we’re not sure if the idea in the noun clause is true or not.Example:Nick is absent. I hope (that) he isn’t sick.He might be sick or he might not be sick. I don’t know, but I have hope!I hope you are right about what you said.You may be right or you may not be right. I don’t know, but I have hope!
Hopes about the Past If I have a hope about the past, it means that I don’t know what happened in the past with certainty.For example:I hope (now) (that) you studied for the test.Did you study? I don’t know, but I hope that you did.In this case, I’m not trying to change the past (which is impossible, except in our imagination). The fact is that I don’t know about the past and I’m hoping that something did or didn’t happen.
In conclusion… A wish about the past means I know what happened in the past and now I have regret. Example: I said something hurtful and now I regret it. I wish I hadn’t said that.A hope about the past means that I don’t know with certainty what happened and I’m hoping that something did or didn’t happen.Example: I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings. I’m not sure whether I hurt your feelings or not.
I hope (that) this presentation was helpful (I don’t know if it was or not). I wish I could spend more time on this with you (but alas, I cannot).