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The Unreal Past

The unreal past is used to talk about imaginary situations in the past. You can describe what you would have done differently or how something could have happened differently if circumstances had been different.

We use wish + past simple to talk about things we would like to be different in the present. For example, "I wish (that) I was famous."

We use wish + past perfect to talk about things that happened in the past that we wish hadn't happened. For example, "I wish I had asked her out before she moved away."

We use if only for emphasis, or to emphasize something. For example, "If only I had paid my bill on time. Now I owe more money!"

We use wish + would to talk about things we want to stop because we find them annoying. For example, "I wish the dog would stop barking!"

The Unreal Past Grammar Quiz

  1. If I , would she still think I'm ugly?

  2. What if Kurt Cobain still alive, would you still love Nirvana's music?

  3. If I the lottery, I would buy you a house.

  4. Supposing Obama the election, could he still be popular?

  5. We could go to the movies, if only I have to work.

Go Super to see the answers! Go Super!

The Unreal Past Lessons:

Twilight: New Moon

Renting vs. Owning


Mayer Hawthorne

Hypothetically Speaking - With the Unreal Past Tense

Giving Gifts

Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides

Love Songs


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