IF ONLY Grammar Rules | Meaning and Uses

IF ONLY- Meaning and use: English Grammar Rules

In this complete tutorial for beginners, learners are going to learn “if only”. This Lesson discusses the meaning and ways on how to use “if only” in sentences and comes with examples to give ideas to master this English grammar rules and exercises.

Now before we proceed we should answer this questions. What does “if only” mean in English? What is the definition? When do we use it?

In this lesson, you will learn how to use “if only” in the present, past and future.

Watch the video here to see the actual demonstration of “if only – Meaning and Use” Grammar Rules with exercises.


Here is the Uses and Grammar Rules of the “If Only” with Exercises/Examples

Let’s get started. Here’s a situation:

Tom does not have a  laptop. He borrows from his friend if he has presentation in class.

Tom says or thinks: “If only I had a laptop.”

If only” + past tense to express a wish in the present.


I would like to have a laptop. (in the present)

I wish I had a laptop. (in the present)

“if only” in the present

Form: “if only” + subject + past simple

Meaning: A wish for the present.

Dan lives in Las Vegas. His grandparents live in New York.

Dan: If only I lived in New York.

Roger would like to buy a motorcycle but he has no money.

Roger: If only I had a stable job.

“If only” in the present – More examples

Form: “if only” + subject + past continuous

Meaning: A wish for the present.


Jerry is upset because his wallet is missing.

Jerry: If only it wasn’t missing.

If only it weren’t missing. (subjunctive)

Dave would like to get on his bicycle but it isn’t working.

Dave: If only my bicycle was working.

If only bicycle were working. (subjunctive)

“if only” in the future

Form: “if only” + subject + would + base form of verb

Meaning: A wish for the future.

Tim needs an extra job.

Tim: If only I would get an extra job.

John likes basketball very much.

John: If only I would become a professional basketball player.

“if only” in the future – another example

Tom is fixing the sink and is becoming tired.

Tom: If only someone would help me.

“if only” in the past

Form: “if only” + subject + past perfect

Meaning: A wish to change something from the past

If only grammar rules Examples:

Phil hates his job as a janitor.

Phil: If only I had studied harder in school.

James has a terrible stomach upset.

James: If only I hadn’t drunk too much wine.

And finally, here is my future wish:

If only you would share this video.

So, there we are that’s the end of this lesson hope you enjoyed it, don’t forget to subscribe, like, share, and let me know your thoughts and questions. Love to hear from you.

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