Imagined Time

Imagined, wished for or unlikely situations are used a lot in English. Take a look at the Imagined Time explanation below and test yourself with the final quiz at the bottom of the page.

Imagined Time

When we want to speak about imagined situations or times, we often move the verb form backwards. The tense change gives the feeling of a distance from the real situation.

If only and wish

The present

Wish/if only + a past form is used when we want to talk about a situation now that we would like to change

I wish I studied more when I was younger.
If only people took
more care of the environment.

You can use would alongside wish, to show announce.

I wish he would work a little harder.

The past

Wish/if only + a past perfect form is used if we want to talk about a situation we want to change in the past. 

I wish had spoken with him while he was there.
If only they’d ran a little more in training.

The future

We use I hope to talk about things we want to happen in the future.

I hope win on the weekend

It's (high) time

It’s (high) time + subject + past verb form is a phrase we can use to talk about something we should have changed a long time ago and will make that change now.

It’s high time I started doing some exercise.
It’s time he worked on his CV. 

As if/as though

Using as if and as though is used when we want to talk about how similar a situation is to another.

The children are acting as if there are no adults here.
It was as though the driver didn’t see me.

Would rather

We use Would rather when we want to talk about a situation we prefer.

I would rather eat a small lunch and have a big dinner.

I’d rather you didn’t feed the cat too much.

It’s high time you _____ to the doctor about that hip pain.

They act as though climate change _____ a reality.

I’d rather you _____ call them now.

If only we _____ it was your birthday yesterday!

Your grade is: __

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