Wishes about the present
To wish about things you want to be true now, but are not, use the simple past tense after the verb "wish".
I wish I had a self-cleaning house.
(I do not have a house that cleans itself, but I want one)
Note #1: If you are using the verb BE, use "were" instead of "was", no matter who the subject is.
- I wish I were rich. (I am not rich, but I want to be)
- He wishes he were swimming in the ocean. (He is not swimming in the ocean, but wants to)
Note #2: Use "could" and "would". Do not use "can" or "will".
- I wish I could get a massage. (I cannot get a massage even though I badly want one)
- I wish he would quit smoking. (I don't think he will ever quit smoking)
Wishes about the past
When you make a wish about a past event, you are expressing regret or sadness about things in the past that you wanted to happen, but didn't. To make a wish about past events, use the past perfect. The past perfect is formed by using HAD + past participle. (e.g. Had seen)
I wish I had learned to drive when I was 16 years old. (In fact, I did not learn how to drive until I was much older)
Note #1: Although I have seen it used, for wishes about the past, do not use "could", "would", "can", or "will". It is not necessary. Simply stick to using the past perfect. You will avoid stumbling over words.
I wish he would have called me. (Apparently this is OK, but I don't like it)
I wish he had called me. (There's no change in meaning)
Now, what do you wish for?