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E.g

"i wish i could come to the party"
"I wish i could have come to the party"

What is the difference between these two sentences? I heard a girl talking to other girl "wish you could come" but what she was talking about some party that was in the past, so my question is, shouldnt she have said, wish you could've come to the party?

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"I wish i could come to the party". (They are having it tomorrow at 9 pm)

Since party is a specific event, this sentence relates either to the present or to the future.

So, since the party was in the past, that girl made a little mistake, or you might've missed her adding the word have.

When we want to express past possibility (the party is already over) the correct form is could have:

"I wish I could have come to the party"

We use could for past abilities, not possibilities:

I wish I could play piano when I was 7. (this use of "could" relates to my ability to play piano)

  • No, see that's what i was confused about. As in i know what would've , could've means. Here the girls was referring to a party that was in the past. – Ardis Ell Jan 25 '15 at 11:10
  • @ArdisEll - I wrote that "the girl has either made a mistake, or you failed to hear the ve after could". You are right: the proper form is could have, since the party was in the past (and it's a one-off event). – CowperKettle Jan 25 '15 at 11:12
  • @ArdisEll - you're welcome! It's usually best to wait a couple of days before accepting an answer: others may add some detail. (But this particular case is simple) – CowperKettle Jan 25 '15 at 11:17
  • Oh okay , thankyou i'll keep this in mind for my future posts :) – Ardis Ell Jan 25 '15 at 11:20

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