Please look at the following

1) I wish you could have come to the party

There's a friend of mine who couldn't come to the party and I am now discussing with him about that and wishing. So can I use the sentence #1 for the following two scenarios?

a) I know you couldn't come to the party.-----I wish you could have come.

b) I know you couldn't have come.---------I wish you could have come.

Is the usage of sentence #1 for the above two scenarios right? If not, then please tell me what sentence must be used for both #a and #2? I mean does sentence #1 work for both the scenarios?

  • Personally, I'd use "I know you weren't able to come to the party" so I don't have to repeat "could".
    – MorganFR
    Jan 25 '17 at 15:37
  • Do you realise that (a) differs from (b) in that (a) implies that you would have gone to the party (but something prevented you), whereas (b) simply implies that I know it's not feasible that you went to the party (possibly because I know that nobody even told you about it, so you weren't aware of being "prevented" from going at all). Jan 25 '17 at 15:42
  • ...personally, I don't think English has any simple and natural way of expressing the two different nuances of I wish what I know had been otherwise as they relate to the two examples. The distinction is simply too subtle to warrant special disambiguating constructions. Jan 25 '17 at 15:46

I wish you could have come to the party.

I'm sorry you could not come to (attend*) the party.

Both acknowledge that (for whatever reason) you wish they could come and you are sorry they missed it.

(*attend means 'come to' or 'be present at')

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.