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This makes you wish the author would have written several advanced sequels to this amazing book.

I don't like would in the sentence. Because you usually say "I wish he had written..." So for me the sentence should be "..makes you wish he had written..."

Can you explain this usage?

  • 1
    Does it have anything to do with one of the meanings of the verb will? Here in its past form – would. – Graduate Feb 25 '14 at 9:41
  • 1
    I would much prefer "I wish he had written" as well. The other sounds a bit dodgy to me, but I'm not certain enough to say that it's definitely wrong. – starsplusplus Feb 25 '14 at 10:04
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This makes you wish the author would have written several advanced sequels to this amazing book.

You are right that "I wish he had written ..." is preferred.

However, in informal speech, "I wish he'd have written ..." and its variants, "I wish he had have written ..." and "I wish he would have written ...", though frequently considered incorrect, happen quite often in educated people's speech (according to entry 262.2 in PEU, see below).

I found this explanation in Practical English Usage by Michael Swan,

630 wish
4 wish + that-clause: tenses
In a that-clause after wish, we generally use the same tenses as we would use, [...]. Past tenses are used with a present or future meaning.
[...]
Past perfect tenses are used for wishes about the past.
    I wish you hadn't said that. (= It would be nice if you hadn't said that.)
    Now she wishes she had gone to university.
In informal speech, sentences like I wish you'd have seen it sometimes occur. For similar structures with if, see 262.

Here are the relevant sections under entry 262 (for the usage of I wish you'd have ...).

262 if (7): other structures found in spoken English
2 'd have ... 'd have
In informal spoken English, if-clauses referring to the past are sometimes constructed with 'd have. This is frequently considered incorrect, but happens quite often in educated people's speech. It is not normally written.
    If I'd have known, I'd have told you.
    It would have been funny if she'd have recognised him.

3 had've and would've
Instead of the contracted 'd in these structures, full forms are sometimes used for emphasis or in negatives. Both had and would occur. The following are genuine examples taken from conversation.
    I didn't know. But if I had've known ...
    We would never have met if he hadn't have crashed into my car.
    If I would've had a gun, somebody might have got hurt.
    If you wouldn't have phoned her we'd never have found out what was happening.

  • In my copy of Swan's book, this is called parallel structures: 'd have ... 'd have (section 261, point 9, page 251). Personally, I don't understand how a conditional tense can convey the meaning of an action that hasn't happened. – Nico Feb 25 '14 at 15:06
  • @Nico People often (subconsciously or not) speak as though the past can change (or have been different). It's a hypothetical in the same way as above, it just uses a time in the past as its point of departure from reality. – Tyler James Young Feb 25 '14 at 16:12
  • @TylerJamesYoung I understand that the past tense can be used to talk about hypothetical actions. What I don't understand is the use of the conditional tense for anything other than conditional phrases (if..., then...). – Nico Feb 25 '14 at 16:21
  • @Nico I lack the technical understanding to describe the distinctions at play. Please help yourself to any words of mine. Mis palabras son tus palabras. – Tyler James Young Feb 25 '14 at 16:39
  • I've quickly looked up the BYU-BNC and it shows these parallel structures being uses in a wide range of contexts: academic, non-academic, politics... – Nico Feb 25 '14 at 19:52
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Wish + would can be used.

Here is the pattern: wish + would + bare infinitive to express impatience, annoyance or dissatisfaction with a present action.

  • I wish you would stop smoking. ... You are smoking at the moment and it is annoying me.
  • I wish it would stop raining. ... I'm impatient because it is raining and I want to go outside.
  • I wish she'd be quiet. ... I am annoyed because she is speaking.

However, in our example: ‘This makes you wish the author would have written several advanced sequels to this amazing book.’, the usage of wish + would is not correct as it refers to a past event. The correct construction should be: ‘I wish he had written’.

  • As described in your answer, wish+would expresses dissatisfaction with a present action. In OP's case, he's dissatisfied with a past event, and hence this construct is not correct. – Nico Feb 25 '14 at 11:32
  • To give you a lead, here's a link to a piece of grammar that briefly tells you that wish is followed by a verb in past tense (would being the corresponding past-tense form of will). I'm sure you can find a better reference and correct your answer. – Nico Feb 25 '14 at 11:50

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