“I wish I'd studied something a little more practical.”

English Lesson: I wish I'd studied something a little more practical.

You're talking to someone at a party. You start to talk about what subjects you studied in college. You studied Political Science, but after you graduated you didn't find a job related to that field. Instead, you have a low-paying job as a waiter. You say this to express a little regret that you studied Political Science.

I wish I'd studied something a little more practical.

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I wish I'd (done something)

Use this phrase when you regret something. It means that you would like to change what happened in the past.

Of course, it's not possible to change the past, so you use the word "wish" in this sentence. A lot of English learners mix up the words "wish" and "hope". Use "wish" for imaginary things that you don't think can happen:

I wish I was a little bit taller.

Use "hope" to talk about things that might still happen:

I hope I get a raise this year.

When you're using "wish", you're talking about something not real so the tense changes. When you're talking about something that might happen in the future with "hope", it looks like this:

I hope you can come!

But if someone tells you that they can't come, you can tell them:

I wish you could come!

"Wish" uses what looks like the past tense of the verb (although it's not really past tense; it's the "unreal" aspect) when talking about the present or the future. When you're talking about something in the past with "wish", you use "I wish (someone) had...":

I wish you'd told me sooner.

(do) something a little more (adjective)

Use this phrase, "(do) something (adjective)" to mean "something that is (adjective)":

I'm in the mood for something light.

I want to do something meaningful with my life.

You can use "anything" in the same way:

Don't buy anything expensive.

You can also add "a little more" or "a little ___er" to compare two things:

I'm looking for something a little cheaper.

These are good ideas, but let's try to think of something a little more creative.

practical (career choices)

When you're talking about a person's studies or career, a "practical" choice is one that leads to a secure job where you can earn a good salary.

Certain college majors are considered "practical":

  • Accounting
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering

Majors that are not considered practical include:

  • Philosophy
  • Art
  • History