If I know I will be late for a meeting, I can say "I wish I won't be late." to someone, right?

If I am not sure if I will be late for the meeting, I can say "I hope I won't be late." to someone, right?

There are English teachers claiming "I hope I won't be late." is the only correct sentence, but I doubt it.

  • Wishing and hoping are completely different. But while you say it to someone it is more likely to say that "you hope that you don't get late". Getting late can be due to various circumstances, so you can hope that such circumstances don't occur in your case. While wishing can indicate that you purposely got late. Sep 3, 2020 at 5:05
  • "I hope I don't get late" is not natural English in either American or British dialects.
    – BadZen
    Sep 3, 2020 at 6:12
  • If you know you are going to be late, there is no point in wishing that you won't be! It would be better to say "I'm afraid I shall probably be late." Sep 3, 2020 at 8:50
  • @KateBunting Yes, no practical point, but it expresses my inner desire to control the event regardless of impossibility. Thus there is clarity. I doubt there is a fixed meaning of a sentence that we can use to communicate with each other clearly all the time.
    – Den Allan
    Sep 4, 2020 at 3:01
  • It would be more natural in that case to say "I wish I wasn't going to be late." Sep 4, 2020 at 7:45

2 Answers 2


I wish I won't be late.

^ This is very awkward, bordering on incorrect use. A listener would probably ask you to repeat yourself or clarify what you said.

I wish I had not been late.

I wish I weren't late so often.

^ These are OK. They express regret about past or past to ongoing actions.

I wish that I will have more money in the future.

^ This is OK, too, you can wish for something in the future tense. But you probably want to say "hope to" when talking about being late - because "wish" is not generally used for things under your control.

I hope I won't be late!

^ This is almost certainly what you want to say.

  • "I wish that I will have more money in the future." This is OK to you; then "I wish I will be on time." should be also acceptable, right?
    – Den Allan
    Sep 3, 2020 at 7:14

The verb are I wish needs to be in the subjunctive mood, or an infinitive form (when used to express a desire to someone - and then it's really a demand):

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