Como digo em inglês “Ah, se eu trabalhasse nessa empresa”

By Ana Luiza | Podcast Inglês Online

Aug 08
Como digo em inglês “Ah, se eu trabalhasse nessa empresa”
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Hi, all. Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online eu falo sobre “Eu queria ter isso ou aquilo” e “Ah, se eu tivesse ou fizesse isso ou aquilo” em inglês.

A estrutura geral em inglês é essa:

I wish I [past form of a verb] [some complement]  ou  If only I [past form of a verb] [some complement]

Transcrição

Hello, everybody. What’s up? Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to inglesonline.com.br and click Podcast Inglesonline.

How about we recap how to use a certain structure that incredibly common in English conversation? It involves what we know as the past tense, although in Portuguese we sometimes translate it to a Subjunctive tense. In case that’s all Greek to you, I’m talking about something like this: “I wish I had a dog”. How often do you say something like that? Here’s another one: “Oh, if only I had a dog”… These two examples have similar meanings if not exactly the same.

How do we express “I wish I had a dog” in Portuguese? “Ai, queria ter cachorro”. Here are other things you could say: Queria que isso fosse assim ou assado. Queria que já fosse amanhã e etc. So let me give lots of examples using this structure, because I strongly suspect that this is one of those cases that everyone thinks is relatively easy, and… Are you using it in your conversation yet? When you want to express “Ah, se eu morasse na praia…” do you open your mouth and say ‘If only I lived by the beach…”?

So here’s the beauty of English: we use the simple past tense in those structures to express something that in Portuguese may be translated as subjunctive tense, and sometimes as some other tense. The thing is, students acquire the past tense of common verbs relatively fast, but that isn’t always the case with many other verbs that are still common but that are seen as “difficult” or “strange”. I say, listen to them enough and, as long as you understand what you’re listening to, before you know it they’ll be coming out of your mouth.

So let me give you examples with some of my favorite verbs to practice: caught, taught and read, all in the “irregular verb” category, and worked in the “regular verb” category. So here’s the first one: I wish I caught more fish.. in our fishing trips. So here’s the backstory: you go fishing with a couple of friends every five months or so but, for some reason, you never seem to catch that many fish. So there you have it: you’re having this thought right now. “I wish I caught more fish when we go fishing”. Another one: you know there’s a criminal on the loose in your neighborhood and you tell your friend “I wish they caught this guy”. Who is “they”? Probably the police. You wish the police caught this guy. How exactly would you say that in Portuguese? “Queria que a polícia pegasse esse cara”.

Now listen to this:  you’re a teacher who teaches at a school, but you don’t like this school very much. You wish you taught in a different school. You wish you taught at the “International Language School”, where your friend Mark is a teacher. You wish you taught there, because teachers at the International Language School enjoy a great reputation with headhunters and are very well-respected in the market. So you think “I wish I taught there”. Also, you teach French, and today, for some reason, you wish you taught German. You feel this sudden desire to teach German. So you think “I wish I taught German instead of French”.

And your friend Melissa just told you she has a subscription to “Plants and Vegetables Magazine” and you think that sounds so interesting, so you tell her “I wish I read Plants and Vegetables magazine. That way I would be able to talk about plants!” If only I read that magazine… I would probably become a plant expert.

Also, your other friend Scott tells you he’s been working out in a gym. You work every day from 7AM to 11PM so you barely have time to eat and go to the bathroom, let alone go to a gym. Sometimes you work out at home, on the weekends. You think working out at a gym must be great, though. You think to yourself “I wish I worked out at a gym. Oh, if only I worked out at a gym…”

And to wrap things up, one more example: your friend, the same one who goes to the gym, works for company ABC, where he makes a lot of money and has to work only from 9 to 4PM. So of course he has plenty of time to work out at the gym. You start thinking that company ABC is so much better than the company you work for. And then the thought comes: “Oh, if only I worked for company ABC… I would work less, make more money and have time to work out at the gym. I wish I worked for company ABC.”

So where are your examples? That’s all for today, everyone, but give us some examples from your own life in the  comments.  Talk to you next time.

Key expressions

  • I wish I (had/did something) [Queria ter/fazer alguma coisa]
  • If only I (had/did something) [Ah se eu tivesse/fizesse alguma coisa]

 

Glossary

Are you (doing something) yet? = Você já esta (fazendo algo)?

I say,… = O que eu acho é,…

as long as = contanto que

before you know it = quando você menos esperar

the backstory = a história por trás (do que eu acabei de dizer)

on the loose = à solta

you barely have time to = você mal tem tempo de

let alone = quanto mais

 

[audio:http://media.blubrry.com/podcast_ingls_online/www.inglesonline.com.br/mp3/podcast-wishihad.mp3]
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About the Author

Ana Luiza criou um blog de dicas de inglês em 2006, e depois de muito pesquisar o que faz alguém ganhar fluência numa segunda língua, criou seu primeiro curso de inglês em 2009.

  • Catherine says:

    Hi Ana Luiza, this’s the first time that I coment something here HAHAHA! You’re doing an amazing job, I really like your podcasts! So, I have one question.
    “You think working out at a gym must be great, though.” I hear and read a lot about this, the word “though” at the end of the sentence. Have you ever do a podcast about that? I really want to learn about.

    Thank you!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Catherine,
      Happy to hear you’re enjoying the site :-))
      I don’t think I have a podcast on that, but I do have posts – please search though and although using the search form and you will find them!
      Ana x

  • Alexandre says:

    Hi Ana!
    I’m writing here right now just to say that all your podcasts help me a lot in my improvement. They’re so inspiring!
    I’m living in Dublin at the moment. I know you currently live in England. So, If only I lived in England I’d contact you for a coffee!
    Thanks a million for all your help giving these useful tips!
    :]

  • Quéren says:

    Ana
    do I say:
    – “I wish I was rich” or “- I wish I been rich” ??

    thanks a lot, great work here

  • Morgana says:

    Your lessons are great!! Passing by every week!!

    My examples:

    I wish I had more time to study English.
    If only I had more time to study English.

    I wish I had enough money to buy that dress.
    If only I had enought money to buy that dress.

    See ya!!

  • Débora says:

    I wish I passed the FCE exam.

  • Al says:

    I need buy a mp3 player.
    If I had a mp3 player, I could listen those lessons many times.

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Good one, Al. An mp3 player is one of the best purchases a language student can make ;)

  • jennifer says:

    Thank you Jeff.I get it now.

  • Babi says:

    I like these podcasts. it helps me a lot, i wish i had started to learn english earlier.

  • Luiz says:

    My example:
    I wish I had studied english in Canada during my vacation.

    Great podcast

  • Débora says:

    I wish I taught English Language at any School.

  • Jeff says:

    I wish I did an exchange student in the U.S or Canada to improve my English speech skills!

    I’ll do it one day.

    Nice podcast Ana! :*

  • jennifer says:

    Hi, Ana! If I only had enough money for to go to US,I think I´ll learn more fast then here.But I don´t give up never.I´m brazilian. Kisses

    • Jeff says:

      You’ll learn “FASTER” more fast doesn’t exist.
      Enjoy it. :D

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi jennifer,

      Make sure you read the “Como Falar Inglês” tips ! Try to put them in practice as well as you can and I think you’ll like the results ;)

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