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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]
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.
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
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