I Wish You Were Here – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you seen or heard the phrase 'I wish you were here' somewhere, and would like to know more? 'I wish you were here' is a common sentence which might either be a song lyric reference, or an expression that has been part of language for almost 100 years. This post unpacks the meaning, origin, and saying of this expression.


The phrase 'I wish you were here' is a common saying in the English language, but it isn't a traditional metaphor.

Instead, the phrase 'I wish you were here' or just 'wish you were here' is used as a statement to express that one person is missing another and desires their company or presence.

The phrase is so common that it has become a pop culture reference which many people know and repeat.

The phrase 'wish you were here' is most common when said to someone as a phrase that implies longing and endearment.

The saying can also be used to say that 'I wish you were there' or 'I wish you were here', though it depends what the speaker is referring to.

Sometimes the phrase 'wish you were here' is said as a deliberate reference to the famous Pink Floyd song, written as a tribute to Syd Barrett.

The phrase is not used as a question, though can if the phrase is used as 'do you wish I was there?' and adapted for use instead.

When it is said as the negative, the phrase's meaning changes and it could become a potential insult that expresses the desire to be away from someone.

Example Usage

“I have nobody to play Exploding Kittens with, and I totally wish you were here.”

“What are you wearing, my darling little ocean fish sweetheart? I wish you were here right now.”

“I wish you were here right now so that we can experience the total horror of the pineapple on this pizza right now.”

“If I had three wishes right now, then I'd probably wish for cocaine and hookers, and I wish you were here.”


According to most online language resources, the phrase 'wish you were here' was first introduced as a common saying on postcards printed by the United States government somewhere in the late 19th century.

After use of the phrase as a popular postcard, the saying made its way around and remained a common thing to say as a term of endearment throughout the 1900s.

The song was used by UK band Pink Floyd as a title and lyric in their 1975 song Wish You Were Here. Use of the phrase as a popular culture refernce became much more common as a result of their use, though modern use does not always mean the song.

'Wish you were here' is listed on the website Urban Dictionary from November 2010.

Phrases Similar to Wish You Were Here

  • N/a

Phrases Opposite to Wish You Were Here

  • Fuck off

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Wish you were here
  • I wish you were here

Ways People May Say Wish You Were Here Incorrectly

There are several ways in which someone can use the phrase 'wish you were here' in the wrong way, or misunderstand the meaning of the phrase.

The phrase is not common as a negative phrase, as it would be an insult for the person who it is being said to.

When misspelled or written quickly, the phrase can become 'wish you were her' which does not mean the same thing.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Wish You Were Here

There are several ways to use the phrase 'wish you were here' in conversation the right way.

Sometimes the phrase can be a way to say that one person misses another and desires their company, though other times the phrase can be a reference to the 1970s Pink Floyd release with the same name as the saying.

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