gramática inglés b2

Talking about regrets in English

Imagine you want to talk about something that you wish were different about yourself or your life or to talk about something that you are sorry that you did or didn’t do in the past. Here’s a simple guide to how you can express regrets in English.

To express regret about situations in the present or future

To talk about things that we would like to be different in the present or future but which are impossible or unlikely to change we use…..

wish + past simple  or  if only + past simple 

  • I wish he wasn’t so tall. 
  • I wish he’d shut up, he hasn’t stopped talking all night.
  • If only we were going somewhere interesting this weekend. 
  • I wish I could play the piano. 
  • I wish I could speak Italian, then I could talk to her. 
  • I wish this house had a swimming pool. 
  • If only we lived in a bigger flat. 

To express regret about situations or actions in the past

To talk about situations that we wish had been different or actions that we wish had or hadn’t happened in the past, we use…

wish + past perfect or  if only + past perfect 

  • I wish I had learned how to play the piano when I was younger. 
  • I wish I hadn’t eaten that extra slice of cake.
  • If only I had learned how to drive. 
  • I wish I had booked the hotel earlier, it might not have been quite so expensive.

So… what are your biggest regrets?