There were workshops a few days ago. I couldn't be there. I'm watching photographs from that time and I'm wondering what I should use.

'I wish I were there' or 'I wish I were be there' or something elese?

  • 7
    "I wish I had been there" because the event has already taken place and is over. Saying "I wish I were there" would imply the event is still in progress.
    – None
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 9:21

2 Answers 2


The former; 'I wish I were there'.

An alternative here could be 'I wish I was there'. Using the subjunctive 'were' rather than 'was' seems to express a sense of impossibility, whereas 'was' leaves more room for a possibility. In formal contexts, the usage of 'were' appears more often. Both are considered grammatically correct (although more restrictive grammar books tend to dismiss 'was')

Note that your other suggestion ('were be') is incorrect.


I wish I were there is grammatically correct and I wish I were be there isn't, since you shouldn't have two main verbs just sitting next to each other that way. You've mixed it up with would be or could be.

As Laure said above, all of those are still wrong because you're talking about something that already happened. The were isn't in the past tense here but in the subjunctive mood, talking about something that isn't really the case.

Too late for your workshops, but if anyone else clicks through from the sidebar, it's

I wish I'd been there.

or, better, since it implies your inability to have come,

I wish I could've made it.

The subjunctive voice of the could shows it's not really the case (="I really was unable to come because of [reasons]") but it's not the same thing as the past tense, so you still have to use have made instead of make to show that you're talking about something in the past.

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