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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


Log in to Reply


Ă…land Islands

you’d rather gave us more explaination,,lol but thats ok if only i knew heaps of english words i would be a teacher clothing manufacturer

04:58 AM May 31 2015 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

nice lesson.

03:11 AM Dec 26 2013 |




Extremely helpful lesson. Thanks.
I wish I had learned it before

03:33 AM Sep 07 2013 |




me too..!

12:11 PM Dec 16 2012 |




If I had enough money, I want to study abroad.

12:32 AM Aug 03 2012 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

I wish i had started english sooner.

11:33 AM May 13 2012 |

abang leak

abang leak


you’d rather gave us more explaination,,lol but thats ok if only i knew heaps of english words i would be a teacher 

05:07 AM Nov 06 2011 |



you would have understood it , If only you were too good in English

( dont worry….......  read it once again….  U’ll understand)


hope my example is correct…....

If wrong, please do Inform me


12:35 PM Nov 01 2011 |



Nice explanation, but I wish you had given us more exercies,

04:32 PM Jun 23 2011 |

1 person likes this



good lesson


12:36 AM Apr 28 2011 |