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When she was younger,she wished she (could read/ had read).faster.

A non-native speaker said the correct answer is 'could'. When I asked him why can't we choose 'had read', he said, "The reason, very briefly, is that the time of the wish is the same as the time of the thing the speaker wishes. She wished (in the past when she was young) she could read faster (also in the past when she was young). But if the time of the wish differs from the time of the thing the speaker wishes, the matter is different. So if she wishes now in the present tense, WISHES, that she had been able to read faster in the past when she was young - here she must use COULD HAVE READ

Is that right? Is there any grammar reference that supports my friend's answer?

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Omar AhmedIs that right? Is there any grammar reference that supports my friend's answer?

1. Yes. 2. No. Not that I know of. (Sorry. Emotion: sad )

The grammar of 'wish' is fraught with all sorts of little idiosyncrasies which make it an obnoxious pest for learners, but that explanation sounds reasonable to me. I would certainly not advise 'had read' in that sentence. When she was younger suggests a past-habit reading, but had read suggests a past-event reading, and those two aspects create a contradiction.

CJ