Grammar 5 | Intermediate | CEFR B2

Past Conditional / Regrets

Listen to three conversations using projected speech.

Conversation #1
Man: Why didn't you come to the party?
Woman: I didn't know about it.
Man: Oh, no. I should have told you about it.
Woman: Yeah, I would have come, if I had known about it.
Man: That's too bad. I think you would have enjoyed it.
Woman: I think I would have too!

Conversation #2
Man: So how was your job interview?
Woman: Good, but I should have spoken up more.
Man: Oh, I am sure you did fine.
Woman: Yeah, I just wish I had expressed myself better.
Man: I think you are being too hard on yourself.
Woman: Maybe, but I still think I could have done better.

Conversation #3
Man:How was the movie?
Woman: Actually, I wish I hadn't seen it.
Man: Why? Was it that bad?
Woman: No! It was a great movie.
Man: Then, why do you wish you hadn't seen it?
Woman: Because it was so scary. I couldn't sleep last night.

Man: Oh, really. I love horror movies. Now I wish I had seen it.
Woman: Well, it is playing for another week, so you have time.

Conversation #4
: How was your vacation?
Woman: Good, but I wish I had stayed at a different hotel.
Man: Why do you say that?
Woman: Well, it was next to a lively street and it was so noisy.
Man: Oh no!
Woman: As a result, I never had a good night sleep.
Man: Maybe you should have read some reviews first.
Woman:Yeah, I should have.
Man: Well, shoulda, woulda coulda!


Past Conditional

Point 1: We use modals plus the present perfect to speculate an alternative outcome to a completed action.
  1. I should have studied more in school.
  2. We should have saved some money.
  3. I would have been upset.
  4. I could have been a contender.
Point 2: We use the third conditional to express an outcome we cannot change.
  1. If I were you, I would have said something.
  2. If I could do it over, I would have changed jobs.
  3. If we had won, I wold have been happy.
  4. If the weather had been nicer, we would have stayed longer.
Point 3: We use wish + past perfect or wish + would + present perfect to show regret. The meaning is the same.
  1. I wish I had tried harder in school.
  2. I wish I would have tried harder in school.
  3. She wishes she had applied for the job.
  4. She wishes she would have appled for the job.
Point 4: The modal changes the meaning of the word.
  1. I would have said something. (I did not have the chance)
  2. I could have said something. (I had a chance, but did not)
  3. I should have said something. (I regret not saying something)
  4. I must have said something. (I speculate I said something)
  5. I might have said something. (The outcome might differ)
  6. I may have said something.
Answer the following questions about the interview.