Your wants and feelings are different from those of your friends'. This seemingly obvious difference is distinguished in Japanese. In English, both "Steve seems mad" and "Steve is mad" are grammatically correct and commonly used, but the same cannot be said for Japanese.
In this lesson, we'll learn how to express first and second person wants, meaning you'll be able to say things like "I want to go the park" and "Do you want to?"
Curriculum Note: This lesson has recently been split in two. To see coverage on ～がる, please click the hyperlink.
～たい is used to show one's own want to do something, to ask about someone's wants, or to show what people in general want. Because this is about wanting to do something, though, the verb needs to express an action that involves willpower of the person in question.
漢字 Note: ～度い is an old and rare 漢字 spelling of ～たい. You may find it if you read older stuff.
As is the case for most endings, it attaches normally to the 連用形 of verbs.
|一段||食べたい||I want to eat||見たい||I want to see||信じたい||I want to believe|
|五段||飲みたい||I want to drink||行きたい||I want to go||知りたい||I want to know|
|する||したい||I want to do||見物したい||I want to sightsee||買い物したい||I want to shop|
|来る||来たい||I want to come|
～たい conjugates as a 形容詞. Although it may be strange to associate volition to act as an adjectival phrase, "want" is still a state, and so this is how you can rationalize this oddity of grammar.
|Plain Speech||Polite Speech|
が Or を?
Whenever a verb has a direct object, we know to mark it with を. However, because ～たい makes a verb an adjective regardless of whether it has a direct object or not, a direct object can consequently be marked with either が or を. Whenever を is used, though, a lot more emphasis is placed on one's volition. Of course, if we're referencing different kinds of verbs like travel verbs which would use に・へ instead, neither would be applicable.
|が OK?||を OK?|
I don't want to drink coffee.
I don't want to become a bother.
I want to eat pizza.
I just want to kiss!
Particle Note: As demonstrated, が and をcan be dropped in casual speech.
I want to go see a movie.
Particle Note: In this sentence, を cannot be replaced by が because it is part of the verb phrase 映画を観に行く which is being modified by ～たい as a whole.
As for second person, second person is normally used in questions. Things like ～たいでしょう could be used to indirectly used to express second person want without sounding rude or too direct.
Do you want to go to Tokyo?
Do you want to travel to Japan?
8. 何｛が・を｝食べたい？ (Plain)
What do you want to eat?
～たい｛の・ん｝ですが: Asking for Advice
When you are asking for advice on something you would like to do, it is best to use ～たい with ～のですが・んですが to be more polite. It is also more indirect, and what may or may not follow is something like 何がいいでしょうか.
I'd like to buy a souvenir, but what would be good?
I'd like to buy a TV, but which would be good?
I'd like to go to a hot spring, but where is good?
When showing first person "want for something," use the adjective ほしい, alternatively sometimes written in 漢字 as 欲しい. We'll learn later about how to express someone else's want for something, but just as reminder, below are ほしい's basic conjugations.
Particle Note: Although informal and somewhat improper, ～をほしい is also sometimes seen.
Person Note: As was the case for ～たい, showing second person want for something is normally used in the form of question.
I want a new printer.
You want this book, right?
I want this CD no matter what, so could you get it for me?
～てほしい shows that you "want something done/to happen". The person you want to do the action for you is marked by the particle に.
I would like for you to challenge yourselves every day.
Do you want me to talk to Mr. Yamada?
We'd like you to give us some sort of advice, but...
I want her to stay beautiful.
I'd like a new suit.
I want the book back.
When ほしい is in the past tense, it shows regret that something didn't happen.
I only wanted my boyfriend to understand.
I wanted you to have come earlier.
In showing someone's wish for something to happen, ほしい is followed by ～と思う or ～と思っている with the latter imperative for third person.
My parents are wishing for me to go to college.
I wish for it to revive.
～てほしい, even when polite, is not the most polite way to tell someone that you would like them do to something for you. In this case you are implying that you are to be receiving a favor, and therefore, ～てもらいたい (～ていただきたい being more honorific) would be most appropriate.
I would like you to go to the bank.
We'd like you to attend, Professor.
They would like for me to leave.
We would like you to give us some advice.
In the third person ～てもらいたい and ～ていただきたい should be ～てもらいたがっている and ～ていただきたがっている respectively. The latter is not that common because of the humble nature of the verb いただく. But, one way to not have to use ～がる in this case is to use an alternative phrase such as ～そうだ, which can also mean "to seem."
Mr. Chen would like Mr. Machida to read this flyer.
The students would like (for) Professor Aida to appear on TV.
Particle Note: In honorific speech にも may follow the subject to be more indirect.
With the Negative
For ほしい, you may see ～ないでほしい or ～ほしくない. The first gives an explicit request. ～てほしくない just states implicitly that you don't want something to be done or happen. Consequently, the latter sounds much softer. ～ないでほしい places emphasis on what you don't want to hear, see, etc. The first is like "I want you to not..." and the second is like “I don't want...to...”.
I want you to not become a politician.
I want you to not inform anyone that I was able to do it.
I don't want it to rain.
I don't want you to forget that you have a family.
36b. そんなに遠くまで行きたくはないよ。(With the literal definition of "to go")
I don't want to go that far.
I want to know whether they went mountain climbing.
I want to mail these letters to England.
I want more freedom.
What do you want to write on this?
I want him to be a politician.
I don't want her coming.
I'd like to start an ordinary savings account.
Culture Note: Money may be deposited and withdrawn anytime you like with a 普通預金. 定期預金 is a fixed deposit and a savings deposit is a 積み立て預金.
44. 報告書は今度はもうすこし早く出してほしいのよ。聞いてる? (Feminine)
I want you to turn in your report a little earlier next time, you hear?
I want to withdraw 53,000 yen.
We want to stay three nights.
If I were rich, I would want to buy a castle.
I want to try to go to Seoul.
Grammar Note: ～てみたい should be used instead of ～たい when you are trying to say that you want to attempt to do something.
It wouldn't be surprising for another politician very close to Former President Clinton to say this. On the other hand, if they're on opposing sides and proximity isn't granted, ～てみたい may still be better.
Practice (1): If in Japanese, translate to English. If in English, translate to Japanese.
3. I want to watch Kabuki. (Polite speech)
4. Do you want to go to Nara? (Polite speech)
7. I want to eat sushi.