• How to Talk About Regret in English – Videos and Exercise

    If you’ve been studying English for some time, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not so hard to talk about basic ideas, like what you ate for breakfast, where you are from, or what your name is. But as we get into deeper conversations, it gets harder to talk about more complex ideas. Regrets are one of them. How do you talk about the bad decisions you made when you were a teenager? You need to learn how to talk about regret in English. We’ve got some videos and exercises here to help.

    Talking About Regret In English Grammar Structure

    with + past perfect

    I wish I had/hadn’t gotten this tattoo!

    Along with the videos and exercises, our teachers have a special lesson they can give about regret. Click here to register for a class.

    How to Talk About Regret in English – Video

    Rewrite the sentences below so that they express regret.

    1. Since we hadn’t booked a hotel, it took us three hours to find a room for the night.

    If we ___________________________________________spent three hours looking for one.

    2. It was silly to have said to your sister that I hated her.

    I regret that I told ________________________.

    3. You shouldn’t have cheated on the test!

    I can’t believe __________________!

    4. Oliver messed up his interview, so he didn’t get the job.

    If __________________________________________ the job.

    5. I regret buying that watch.

    I wish __________________________.


    Watch the first 3 minutes of the TED video below about regret, then answer the listening questions.

    Listening Exercise:

    1. What year was Johnny Depp engaged to Winona Ryder?

    2. How old was she when she got a tattoo? When did she regret it?

    3. Do you have a tattoo? Do you regret it?

    4. Do you have a lot of regrets in your life?

    I had drunk the cultural coolaid of our time.

    What tense is this? Why does she use this tense?

    Watch the next 3 minutes of the video and answer the questions below:

    1. Basically telling her husband to stop being such a _____for feeling bad about murding people. (Do you know what the word in the blank means?)

    2. Regret is the emotion we experience when we think that our present situation could be better or happier if we _____ _______ something different in the past. What tense is this?

    3. Why do you experience more regret if you miss your flight by 3 minutes rather than 20?

    4. Do you think this is true? Do you have an example of this? A decision that came out badly but almost came out well?

    Watch the next 3 minutes of the video and answer the questions below:

    1. What does she identify as the top regrets? Do you have regrets about these things?

    2. What are the components of regrets?

    3. How can we “make our peace” with regret?


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