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I was thinking about a situation when my friend is unwilling to stay with me, apparently he is just trying to come up with an excuse for not showing up the next day. I am nearly sure he is not going to show up, and I am a bit irritated by that fact.

Could I say "I wish you would be here tomorrow"?

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You could say that without breaking grammar rules, but no one expresses that feeling in that way, and if they did, it would come across fairly rude. Depending on whether your friend made the decision (in actuality) and whether they told you it was their choice (presentation), you would express the sentiment of wanting them to be with you in a few different ways. I believe Case 4 is what you're looking for, but I am not entirely sure, so I listed several solutions depending on the context.

Case 1: Friend wants to be there but has an obligation preventing it.

You could reply, "I really wish you could be here." You may add additional information to the end such as "for the event tomorrow" or even a bit of consolation like "Let's make plans to get together for a movie soon." In most cases, these responses are polite, and will not instigate interpersonal issues, as the person knows that you understand the obligation is outside their control.

Case 2: Friend does not want to be there, and is suspected of inventing an excuse.

In this case, native speakers usually give the advice to "take the hint." This means that it is reasonably obvious that the person making the excuse does not want to participate, but also does not want to hurt feelings. It is also often true that the person making the excuse this time may want to accept invitations to future events, and also still values the relationship. In this case, not pressing the situation is the best course of action. Reply with: "Okay, no problem. I just wanted to extend the invitation. Maybe next time!" and then don't attempt to coerce a different response.

Case 3: Friend does not want to be there and has stated plainly that this is the case.

Be grateful for their honesty and accept the answer. This is handled in much the same way as Case 2, but the friend's straightforwardness may be an indication that they are mad at you about something. That is very much dependent on the personality of your friend.

Case 4: Friend is promising to be there, but has made subtle implications that he may not be.

A good reply is: "I understand if you can't make it tomorrow, but I really look forward to seeing you."

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  • Thanks, this was just a hypothetical scenario. Could you think of a context where the sentence from the question would be natural? – John V Feb 16 '19 at 17:16
  • It's already almost natural, but still just a hint weird sounding. Honestly, I think it's grammatically and idiomatically correct, just one of those things Americans don't say in most cases because it's pretty rude. We tend to dance around things like expectations of someone's time, and on the flip side, how to avoid giving people our time politely. You could say this and be perfectly understood, you'd just be understood as giving someone a guilt-trip. – Nathan Young Feb 18 '19 at 17:55

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