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Expressing Regret


How to express regret

Expressing regret means having a feeling of sadness about something that you did or did not do. To express regret in English, you may use many different structures. Here are some of them.

wish / if only

You can express regret by using wish or if only:

I wish / if only + Past perfect


  • I wish I had worked harder.
  • If only I hadn't eaten so much.

Conditional type 3

You can also express regret by using a conditional sentence type 3.

If + past perfect + would + have + past participle


  • If I had worked hard, I would have passed the exam.
  • I f I hadn't eaten so much, I wouldn't have been sick.

should have

Regret may also be expressed by using a modal should:

Should have + Past Participle


  • I should have sent him an invitation.
  • He should have done the work.

I regret...

You can express regret by using:

regret + Verb + ing
regret + Noun


  • He doesn't regret leaving her.
  • I regret the things I didn't do.

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