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If the speaker doesn't know where another person is, but they wish they did know, would the following sentence be a good way to express this wish?

I wish I knew where you are now.

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    What research have you done? Sep 10, 2023 at 10:26
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    I really wonder why people downrate such questions. I don't see anything wrong with this question. I'm surprised at what might drive people to dislike such a question. You need to understand that the concepts of different languages are different, so as a result, many questions may arise in people's minds to ask.
    – Shahrooz
    Sep 10, 2023 at 10:46
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    Clear lack of research is often a reason for downvotes and close votes. Sep 10, 2023 at 11:10
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    If you type "I wish I knew" grammar into Google, the first results are lots of questions on this site. Sep 10, 2023 at 11:14
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    Shahrooz, "Is this correct?" questions are off-topic. I assume you mean "Is it OK to use the present tense where you are with the past tense knew?". Yes, it is. Sep 10, 2023 at 15:01

1 Answer 1

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In your scenario, the speaker doesn't currently know where the other person is, but they are engaged in the process of wishing that they knew where the other person is.

"I wish I knew where you are"

"Knew" is not actually indicating the past here, as indicated by "I wish" and "are." It is correct if used in the way that you described. This is a non-obvious and good question.

Note: BillJ pointed out that "I wish I knew where you were" is more natural, and I think this is correct for someone's current location. However, I think that "I wish I knew where you were" requires context to not be interpreted as someone's past location.

See examples here: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&q=%22I+wish+I+knew+where+you+are%22

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  • "I wish I knew where you were now", using the modal preterite form "were", is more natural. The "now" marks it as a current situation.
    – BillJ
    Sep 11, 2023 at 8:08
  • @BillJ I can't think of a way for that to work in a situation where someone wants to know the current location of another person. "Were" implies we currently want to know about the past, not current, location of a person.
    – BigMistake
    Sep 11, 2023 at 21:46
  • Read my comment again: I clearly said that the "now" marks it as a current situation, But even without such a marker, context would clarify the temporal location. Consider: Someone's kid rings home to say that they are staying at a secret location, and mum says "Well OK, but I wish I knew where you were". A perfectly normal response about current time.
    – BillJ
    Sep 12, 2023 at 6:13
  • @BillJ Right. Okay, I definitely see that. Were works.
    – BigMistake
    Sep 13, 2023 at 1:53

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