In Persian we have an idiom literally meaning "I wish you were there too" or "it was good if you were there also".

For example, if you had been in party and a friend had not been there you may say to him/her "I wish you were there too". Is there any idiom or expression in English with the same meaning?

The gloss of the expression is:

Your place was empty.

  • I don't get what exactly makes it an idiom, and not just a sentence, a plain combination of words. Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 17:05
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    @copper-kettle It's an expression in Persian. This it its gloss: "you place was empty"
    – Ali Erfani
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 17:11
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    "Your place was empty" - that's better, that's imaginative! I've added the gloss to the question, if you don't mind, so that native speakers might come up with similar idioms. Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 17:13
  • English speakers might say. You were sorely missed. Or...Your absence was keenly felt. Commented Mar 6 at 16:13
  • [Please note the correction: I wish you had been there. not were//I wish you were here.]
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 6 at 16:30

5 Answers 5


That's a really nice idiom, I wish we had something similar. I guess we could all agree to start using it, maybe it would catch on!

As far as I know there is no direct equivalent in English.

The two closest I can think of are:

A person who is on holiday somewhere nice might say to a friend 'I wish you were here' although it's a bit of a cliché, often thought of as a nothing phrase to write on a post card

On seeing a friend after an event you might say something like

"we missed you at the party last night"

But neither really captures the sentiment of your Persian idiom I think.

  • Thank you for your answer and nice suggestion. Some idioms and expressions have roots deep in culture. Iranian frequently make nice and friendly wishes like this.
    – Ali Erfani
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 10:22

We usually say, "I wish you had been there" or "You should have been there" or "You would have liked the party" (or whatever event).

We do sometimes use a phrase very similar to what you mention: "Fred's seat was empty." But this usually means that he has died or could not be present because of some great tragedy, and not just that he missed a party because he was busy somewhere else.

  • Thank you @jay for your answer. It seems there is no idiomatic equivalent. As our friends suggest, maybe English-speakers need to borrow this expression ;)
    – Ali Erfani
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 10:32

I would say:

I wish you could have been at the party.

The translation does not seem to work, because the "place" (where the party was) was not really empty, just one less person there. So the focus needs to be on "you" (the friend), and not the location.

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    From my reading it seems like "place" in the phrase refers to the position the person would/should have occupied -- i.e. "there was an empty space where you should have been" -- rather than the (whole) venue itself. This is possibly a bad interpretation since I'm not familiar with the original phrase.
    – paul
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 18:24
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    Yes, possibly it's "your place" in the sense of "your seat", "your chair". Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 18:37
  • @paul it's only a nice wish. It does not mean that he/she has missed the event
    – Ali Erfani
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 10:26
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    @AliErfani That is what I was intending to convey, sorry if it didn't appear that way :)
    – paul
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 17:22

The closest thing I can think of is the expression:

It wasn't the same without you.

But this is generally used in the context of events that the person is usually at, as in

I guess we'll gonna keep having our weekly poker night after you move to New York for your new job, but it just won't be the same without you.


English speakers might say. "You were sorely missed." Or "Your absence was keenly felt."

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