In English, we express hypothetical sentences about past events that happened differently using the third form of “if” sentences, known as “if-3.”


“If I hadn’t eaten (if + had + verb 3), too much chocolate, I wouldn’t have been ill.”

This means: “I ate too much chocolate, and I got sick.”

In these sentences, we consider the opposite of what actually happened.

More Examples:

  1. If our team hadn’t lost, we would have gone to the championship in the USA.
  2. If she hadn’t been driving too fast, she wouldn’t have had an accident. (She drove too fast and had an accident, so the opposite is considered here.)
  3. If doctors hadn’t invented the cures for illnesses, a lot of people would have died. (People didn’t die because doctors invented cures.)

These sentences express regret and criticism:

  • I wish I had a house near the sea. (I don’t have one, but I wish I did.)
  • I wish I had called him earlier. (I didn’t call early, but I wish I had.)
  • If only they hadn’t broken up. (They did break up, but it’s wished that they didn’t.)
  • If only he hadn’t failed his test. (He did fail, but it’s wished that he didn’t.)
  • I wish I knew more about you. (A wish to know more about you in the present – If 2)
  • I wish I had known more about you. (A wish to have known more about you in the past – If 3)

Remember, “if-2” expresses thoughts related to our present, while “if-3” expresses regret or criticism related to the past.

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