Hey, all. Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online eu falo sobre esta estrutura do inglês:
Ah, se eu tivesse feito isso (em algum ponto do passado)…
Queria ter feito tal coisa…
Hi, everyone. How’s it going? 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.
Today we’re going to talk about a more advanced structure. It’s related to the third conditional of English – we’ve had a podcast about that before. Are you familiar with it? First things first. Remember last episode when I gave examples of how to say stuff like “I wish I worked for company ABC” and “I wish I had a dog”? So, when you say things like that, you’re wishing your present situation were different, right? It’s like this: right now you work for company XYZ, but you wish you worked for company ABC. If only I worked for company ABC… Remember that example? Right now you do not have a dog, but you wish you had one.
So today we have a different topic. We’re going to talk about a structure that expresses regret over some action in the past, not in the present. What does that mean? That means you regret something you did, or didn’t do, in the past. Or, it means that you wish you had done something – or the opposite, that you had not done something, in the past. That’s the structure right there – I wish I had done this or that at some point in the past.
Whereas in last episode we used the simple past tense, in this episode we need the participle of those verbs. Want an example? The simple past form of TAKE is TOOK; but the participle of TAKE is TAKEN. So if we were to give an example of a present wish, using last episode’s structure, we could say “Oh, if only I took French lessons with Jacques… I would be able to understand what this French woman is saying right now”. What does that mean? “Ai, se eu fizesse aula de francês com o Jacques” If only I took French lessons with Jacques, I would be able to get what this lady is saying.
Now listen to this: “If only I had taken French lessons when I was a child… I think I would be able to watch all these French movies without subtitles. I am regretting the fact that I didn’t take French lessons when I was a child. I wish I had taken French lessons when I was a child!
So here’s the general structure:
If only I had (done or not done something), something else (would have happened)
I wish I had (done or not done something), and then something else (would have happened)
Here’s the example again: If only I had taken French lessons when I was a child, I’d be able to watch these movies without subtitles. Using this structure, you can express all kinds of regrets about actions in the past. Fun, huh? For example, your friend bought some cheap t-shirts a while ago. Only now the guy who made the t-shirts is super famous and he’s giving interviews everywhere, and his t-shirts now cost a fortune! You like the t-shirts, but you can’t afford them – they’re really expensive. So here’s one thing you can say: “I wish I’d bought one when it was still cheap”.
Again: I wish I’d bought one when it was still cheap. I wish I had bought one when it was still cheap. I’d bought means I had bought. Oh, if only I had bought a t-shirt from this guy when it was still cheap! So what do you regret? You regret not buying a t-shirt back when it was still cheap. You think “I wish I’d bought one while it was still cheap”.
What are some examples of things people wish they had done, or hadn’t done, in the past? Maybe you wish you had learned how to dance when you were a kid ’cause now you think it’s impossible. Maybe you have this thought once in a while: “If only I had learned how to cook while I had the chance… I’d be able to make my own meals without spending a fortune in restaurants.” Or “I wish I’d gotten an autograph from Julia Roberts when I saw her at that restaurant the other day”.
Maybe you wish you had read more books when you were youger. Or maybe you wish you had exercised more when you were growing up. You might say something like “If only I had read more books when I was youger” and “I wish I had exercised more when I was growing up”.
So what are your examples? Let us know in the comments and talk to you next time.
regret = se arrepender
whereas = enquanto que
back when = quando (para algum ponto no passado; back funciona como uma ênfase)
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