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what is the difference between "I wish to be a pilot" and "I wish I was a pilot"? To me it sounds like "I wish to be" refers to the future while "I wish I was" refers to an imaginary status in the present Thanks

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    You are absolutely right. – JavaLatte Aug 23 '17 at 7:23
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  • "I wish to be a pilot" refers to the future. You have a wish to become a pilot. Most probably you are already doing something to become a pilot; moving in that direction so as to become a pilot.
  • "I wish I was a pilot" refers to the present. It's called the subjunctive mood. You use it when you're talking about something that isn't true or when you want to express a wish. The past simple indicative of "be" is correct, even the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary considers it as correct, however, "I wish I were" is the most correct form, and, if you are writing a formal piece of writing, definitely go for it.

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