If you suddenly find yourself longing to see someone, such as a friend or relative who lives in Italy, one way of expressing how much you miss them is with the phrase Vorrei che tu fossi qui which is the Italian equivalent of I wish you were here.
Vorrei che tu fossi qui!
I wish you were here!
Let’s break this phrase down into its component parts:
- Vorrei >> The first-person singular conditional tense of volere (to want). It can also translate as I would like. Vorrei tends to be the best translation for I wish when you want something to be done or to happen, especially if it cannot or probably will not happen. For example:
I wish I could drive. = Vorrei poter guidare.
I wish it would stop raining. = Vorrei che smettesse di piovere.
I wish I had studied more. = Vorrei aver studiato di più.
- che >> A conjunction meaning that.
- tu >> The informal second person subject pronoun you.
Note that it is possible to leave the subject pronoun tu out of the sentence if it is very clear from the context who you are talking about:
Vorrei che fossi qui. = I wish (you) were here.
Be careful though, because Vorrei che fossi qui can also be interpreted as I wish I were here. This is because the verb essere (to be) in its imperfect subjunctive form fossi (were) is used for both io (I) and tu (you) as you can see from the conjugations below:
Vorrei che io fossi… = I wish I were…
Vorrei che tu fossi… = I wish you were…
Vorrei che lui / lei fosse… = I wish he / she were…
Vorrei che noi fossimo… = I wish we were…
Vorrei che voi foste… = I wish you all were…
Vorrei che fossero… = I wish they were…
- fossi >> As mentioned above, this is the second person singular imperfect subjunctive of essere (to be), the equivalent of were in English.
- qui >> One way of translating here in Italian. (The other is qua.) Find out the difference between qui and qua here!
Two other verbs that translate as to wish are augurare and desiderare. In this particular context however, neither really fits because…
Augurare means to wish someone [something good]. For example:
- Ti auguro [una bella giornata]. = I wish you [a nice day].
- Vi auguriamo [ogni successo]. = We wish all of you [every success].
Desiderare means to wish in the sense of a strong desire or craving, much like the English verb to desire. It is a bit too strong to work as a replacement for vorrei in this case.
- Ho sempre desiderato una vita migliore. = I’ve always wished for a better life.