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this is from an American drama "How I met your mother"

When I say "suit up", I wish you 'd put on a suit.

But, what would be different if I say like the following?

When I say "suit up", I wish you put on a suit.

ps. he isn't wearing a suit

  • It sounds odd to use an imperative sentence (suit up) with a sentence that's in the subjunctive. So the correct sentence should be: Suit up; I wish you to put on a suit. – Khan Jan 25 '16 at 7:39
  • I don't think the sentence is imperative, though... ' When I say "suit up" ' could just as easily read ' When I say "stack exchange" '. – Easy Tiger Jan 25 '16 at 10:02
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    Yeah, it's not really an imperative, it's a reference to an imperative. I think the subjunctive is necessary because it's a counterfactual: the speaker is saying "When I express a desire for you to put on a suit, I wish that you would put on a suit (but you don't)." – stangdon Jan 25 '16 at 16:44
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"You'd" is a contraction that can stand in for either "you had" or "you would". The difference between the two phrases is context and timing.

If the statement is spoken before event, it can express a desire for the person to wear a suit to that event, that's the "you would" version - "I wish you would put on a suit [before we go]."

If the statement is spoken at or during an event, both versions mean the same thing. "I wish you [had] put on a suit [before we got here]."

Part of the confusion is that "put on" doesn't change spelling or pronunciation when the tense changes. If you substitute "wear", it becomes less ambiguous.

  • "I wish you'd wear a suit." = "I wish you would wear a suit."
  • "I wish you'd worn a suit." = "I wish you had worn a suit."
  • "I wish you wore a suit." = "I wish you wore a suit."

The last two statements are equally correct, but the mean of "you'd" is no longer in question.

  • Upvoted, as seems best answer. However I'd add that "I wish you put on a suit" is not grammatically correct. It might be heard in an informal American English context, however. The key to why it is grammatically wrong is the word 'wish', which makes the sentence subjunctive. "You put on a suit" is a correct past tense, but 'wish' makes the sentence subjunctive, so 'you had/you would' is correct. – fred2 Feb 19 '16 at 16:14
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When I say "suit up", I wish you 'd put on a suit.

You'd is short for you would The 'd is the shortened form of would.

So in the you'd - the would is implied.

If you write:

I wish you put on a suit.

That is grammatically wrong - and sounds wrong, because the would is not there.

  • The would is not "implied" in you'd, it is present in contracted form. Also this post does not really answer the question as to which of you'd or you is correct/standard/grammatical/preferred. It does explain why I wish you would put on a suit is wrong. – GoDucks Jan 26 '16 at 17:24

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