ESL Sentence Patterns: I wish I had / I should have


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I wish I had [past participle]
I should have [past participle]

I didn’t do something, and now I realize that I should have done it

This is a way to express regret about something that you did or didn’t do


· I wish I had gone to the store earlier; now it’s too late.

· I shouldn’t have eaten such a big lunch before I went swimming.

· I wish I hadn’t eaten two pizzas before I went swimming.

· John should have finished high school. It’s very tough for him to find a good-paying job now.

· I wish I had said “Yes” when David asked me to marry him. Now he has married someone else and I’m all alone!

· You should have known better than to trust the criminal with your money.

· I shouldn’t have stayed up so late last night. I wish I had gone to bed earlier instead of playing video games all night.

· I wish I hadn’t driven so recklessly! Now my car is completely worthless!

· I should have told you the truth. I’m sorry.

· You shouldn’t have lied to me!

· I wish I had known that you were going to the movie! I would have gone with you!

Complete the sentences:

Richard failed the important English test, and now he’s worried that he won’t get into a good university. He wasted a lot of time playing video games instead of preparing for the test. He read comic books instead of textbooks. He went to his friends’ houses instead of going to classes. He didn’t bother to watch any English movies or read any English newspapers. And he stayed up late the night before the test!

Hindsight is 20/20! Richard has a lot of regrets. What should he have done differently? Imagine you are Richard, and write a list of your regrets. Use both “should have” and “wish I had.” (The first one is done for you.)


1. I shouldn’t have stayed up so late the night before the test!


2. __________________________________________________


3. __________________________________________________


4. __________________________________________________


5. __________________________________________________


6. __________________________________________________

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