In this English grammar lesson you will learn how we use the unreal past in English with ‘wish’, ‘if only’, and ‘it is time’ plus a past tense.
Basically, the UNREAL PAST is when we use a past tense but we are NOT referring to the past. We use it when talking about unreal situations or impossible wishes.
For example, the sentence “I wish I had a new car” is an example of the unreal past. At the moment you don’t have a new car. You would like one but you haven’t got one yet.
Likewise, the sentence “It’s time we got a new car” is also an example of this tense. It’s mainly used with certain structures so it is not difficult to learn.
Let’s have a look at the different ways to use this English grammar structure.
If you came to the party you might get to meet Sue. I know you want to meet her.
If I had the time I would take you out to dinner. However, I am too busy.
We use ‘if only‘ for regrets. When we regret having done something. Look at these examples:
If only I had taken the job at the bank. I regret not taking the job.
If only I were more handsome.
By the way, it’s time we had a chat about your future in this company.
It’s very late. It’s time he went to bed.
It’s time you got a job because I am sick and tired of paying for everything.
I wish we weren’t all going to lose our jobs.
She wishes her husband would spend more time with the family. As a result, she might get a divorce.
I wish I didn’t have to give a speech tomorrow.
Would rather, would sooner
I’d rather you didn’t go to the party alone.
I don’t want you here. I’d sooner you left the room.
So, there you go. It’s time I did something else.
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So that’s all in this lesson. If you liked this lesson you may like this one even more.