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Which is correct "Do you ever wish (that) you had gone to..?" or "Do you ever wish (that) you went to..?"

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    Either one is grammatically correct. Whether it is correct in your context depends on the specific context. – Kevin Workman Feb 6 '14 at 14:50
  • The specific context is taken from a "Sentence transformation" exercise and is as follows: "Do you ever regret not going to university?"-"Do you ever wish.............?" – Evgeniy Randev Feb 6 '14 at 14:57
  • So...you're asking homework questions? – JohnP Feb 6 '14 at 15:01
  • Exam questions, to be more exact. – Evgeniy Randev Feb 6 '14 at 15:05
  • Great. Recommended reading: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10811/… – Kevin Workman Feb 6 '14 at 15:09
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They're both correct.

I wish I had gone to... seems to imply that you no longer go to... but you did once.

I wish I went to... seems to imply that you wish you went to... now, instead of where you do go.

Not 100% sure, but I think this is past vs perfect past tense.

EDIT:

To understand what I'm saying, try replacing "went to" and "gone to" with attended. They both work. However, the "Had" before "gone to" implies something that is no longer the case. I had a beer, but I drank it.

It's the difference between "I wish I attended school" and "I wish I had attended school".

Consider these:

  • "Do you ever wish you WENT TO (attended) Harvard instead?" - How I would phrase the question to a current Yale Student (Someone who goes to Yale).
  • "Do you ever wish you HAD GONE TO (had attended) Harvard instead." - How I would
    phrase it to a Yale Graduate. (Someone who had gone to Yale, but doesn't).
  • "I attend Yale, but I wish I WENT to Harvard." - How a current Yale
    student might say it.
  • I graduated Yale, but I wish I HAD GONE to Harvard instead. - How a
    Yale Graduate Might say it.

Now try these:

  • "I graduated Yale, but I wish I went to (attended) Harvard." - Sounds weird. You wish you went to Harvard now? Or then? Are you looking for a second education?
  • " I attend Yale, but I wish I had gone to (had attended) Harvard." - You wish you had attended Harvard when? Before going to Yale?

Yes, they are (sometimes) interchangeable, but the meanings do change subtly.

(Also, no offense to Yale graduates - they were just the first two that came to mind. =o)

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    "I wish I had gone to that party on Saturday" implies that I no longer go to the party, but I once did? I fail to see how you came to this interpretation. – Doc Feb 6 '14 at 16:30
  • Yes, @Doc; 'I wish I had gone to' means you missed the opportunity. And though you may get another one, that one has gone forever. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 6 '14 at 17:25
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    @EdwinAshworth You missed the opportunity yes, but that's my point. Eli suggest that the meaning is that by saying "I wish I had gone to", you suggest that you DID go to the party, but no longer go to it. Whereas "I wish I went to" suggests that you did NOT go to the party, and you wish you were there now instead of where you currently are. I disagree with both interpretations. – Doc Feb 6 '14 at 19:41
  • @Doc I was spelling out the correction you rightly said this answer needs. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 7 '14 at 0:13
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    +1 for your answer is basically right. "Wish" chews up (requires) a modal preterite in the subordinate clause to indicate modal remoteness; and so, "went to" is probably placing its situation in the present time (kinda) -- while "had gone to" is placing its situation in the past time (or else is using backshifting) as the past-tense of "had" is used for the modal remoteness requirement and the perfect construction can be used for the past time sphere or backshifting. – F.E. Mar 4 '14 at 23:40

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