It’s an unexceptional weekday evening and also a salaryguy is fell down in the aisle of a dilapidated discount department save.

You are watching: How do you say want in japanese

He is, for some factor, sobbing.

A pertained to customer organization representative ideologies him to ask what’s wrong, to which he replies:

“I want to buy a ネクタイ (ねくたい) — necktie! I checked out men’s fashion, to male accessories and even to the discount Halloween costume sections, but alas, I still find myself bare-necked and empty handed. Wright here in the civilization can a man buy a necktie these days?”

The staff member easily whips out her inventory book and after a few secs thumbing with the index she responds:

“How strange, it appears that all of our ties are situated in the Japanese discovering resources aisle. What in the people could a necktie need to do via finding out Japanese?”

It turns out a tie—or fairly a -tai—is vital for saying what you want in the Japanese language. That implies we have the right to learn all about expushing desires and also desires in Japanese in terms of the ideal mnemonic device: the humble necktie.

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The Problem through Asking “How Do I Say ‘I Want’ in Japanese?”

One of the the majority of prevalent (and poorly explained) bits of advice offered to people learning a new language is to think in their tarobtain language, not to interpret into it. The difficulty via trying to translate straight is that what sounds herbal in our aboriginal language doesn’t necessarily sound the exact same in our tarobtain language. This leads to output that’s often unorganic, even if it’s understandable.

In other words, the difficulty via saying “how carry out I say X in Japanese” is that Japanese more than likely doesn’t say X prefer that.

It could be linguistically feasible to translate anypoint into another language however for whatever reason—be it cultural distinctions, the simplicity of certain grammar points over others or also pop society trends—the lines between A and also B in translation frequently acquire a small blurred. As an outcome, the most herbal translations aren’t necessarily the word-for-word ones.

This is a large headache for experienced translators yet it additionally leaves a more tangible difficulty for learners like us to tackle. It takes time for our world to get meaning in a second language that exists all at once and also independently of our native language, so how carry out we protect against translation when we could have just just started learning?

Today, we’re going to comment on forms of desire that are grammatically distinguished in Japanese yet not in English. Even though all are included by a mere 2 develops of the verb “to want” in English, trying to ssuggest interpret this “to want” into Japanese will most likely yield incorrect outcomes in 3 out of 4 situations.

To deal with this particular trouble, and likewise to shift amethod from translating in your head, I’d choose you to follow a two-step procedure.

1. Don’t think around the words you’re trying to interpret however quite around the idea you desire to expush.

2. Find Out exactly how the Japanese language conveys this idea.

In other words, don’t think about how to say “I want a (something)” in Japanese. Instead, think about expressing “I desire (something)” as opposed to “I want (to perform something).”


To gain a far better knowledge of this principle, it can assist to see it in usage by an authentic reresource favor the videos on takes real-world videos—choose music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and also turns them right into personalized language finding out lessons.

That indicates you can hear real Japanese speech as it’s offered by indigenous speakers.

For an example of expushing desires, inspect out a video around a clvery own that desires a job or an advertisement for exactly how to discover the information you desire through Google Now.

Use these and also’s various other engaging video-based lessons to get a better take care of on expressing the idea of “I want…” in Japanese.

How to Say “I Want” in Japanese, Explained with Ties

1. Using ~ほしい with nouns: I want a necktie, not a bow tie

We’ll look at ~ほしい initially bereason, although it’s backwards compared to English, the construction is incredibly straightforward to make. Adding ~ほしい to a noun expresses your desire for that noun.

Tright here are three steps:

1. Pick a noun. Any noun.

2. Add the particle が. If you’re a small more progressed, you could occasionally use the pwrite-up は or also の.

3. Add ほしい (informal) or ほしいです (formal) after the pwrite-up.

ほしい is an い-adjective and also some of its standard conjugations look like this:

Present positive: ほしい — want

Present out negative: ほしくない — don’t want

Past positive: ほしかった — wanted

Past negative: ほしくなかった — didn’t want

So, let’s go ago to our story and rewind a little little bit. Say that the staff member hadn’t plainly heard the salaryman because he was sobbing also loudly. She could say:

すみません。何がほしいですか?(すみません。なにが ほしいですか?)Excuse me. What is it that you want?

Prompted, the guy repeats that he wants a necktie.

ネクタイ…ネクタイがほしいです。(ねくたい…ねくたいが ほしいです。)A necktie… I want a necktie.

The staff member nods and also claims “best this method, please.” She leads him down a couple of aisles and, outstretching her hand toward a rack of ties, uses an invariation of the framework we just learned.

ほしいものがありますか?Is tright here something that you want?

(In this case, saying ほしいもの is a bit like saying “the point that’s wanted.”)

The salarymale bweb links, incredulously, as he adheres to the shopkeeper’s gaze to realize that he’s looking at a shelf complete of bow ties. A bit frustrated, he responds:

ボウタイじゃなくて、ネクタイがほしいです!(ぼうたい じゃなくて、ねくたいが ほしいです!)I want a necktie, not a bow tie!

If you want to especially say that you don’t desire something, は is often offered rather of が. Our salaryman might simply also have actually said:

あっ、すみません。ボウタイはほしくないです。ネクタイがほしいです。(あっ、すみません。ぼうたいは ほしくないです。ねくたいが ほしいです。)Ahh, sorry. I don’t want a bow tie. I want a necktie.

2. Using ~たい via verbs: I desire to buy this necktie

If you don’t want a point, however quite desire to do somepoint, you must use the ~たい create via a verb.

This create mirrors that you desire to carry out the action that the ~たい is attached to.

This form have the right to additionally be made in three procedures.

1. Pick a verb. Any verb.

2. Conjugate that verb to its ~ます form.

3. Relocation ~ます through ~たい.


To practice creating this verb form, watch uTexas’s webwebsite. (Keep in mind that you’ll should install a Japanese key-board to use this website).

Here are some examples of the form in use:

見る (みる) — to see: 見る → 見ます (みます) → 見たい (みたい) — I want to see/look…

売る (うる) — to sell: 売る → 売ります (うります) → 売りたい (うりたい) — I desire to sell…

買う (かう) — to buy: 買う → 買います (かいます) → 買いたい (かいたい) — I want to buy…

It could be a small little bit starray to think about, yet the ~たい develop of verbs is distinctive because it conjugateways in the same way as い-adjectives execute. That’s good for us, though, because it suggests that we can use the precise very same conjugations for ~たい and also ~ほしい!

Here’s the verb 買う, for instance.

Present positive: 買いたい (かいたい) ― I want to buy (something).

Present negative: 買いたくない (かいたくない) ― I don’t want to buy (something).

Past positive: 買いたかった (かいたかった) ― I wanted to buy (something).

Past negative: 買いたくなかった (かいたくなかった) ― I didn’t want to buy (something).

To make these polite, ssuggest add です at the end of each of the over examples.

Let’s go back to our story. The 2 are currently standing in front of a rack of neckties. Observe exactly how the staff member asks our salaryguy for a little bit even more indevelopment.

では、どんなネクタイを買いたいですか?(では、どんな ねくたいを かいたいですか?)So, what type of necktie execute you desire to buy?

(Note: While we commonly use ~たがる develop to talk about the desires of others, as we’ll learn in area 4, the normal ~たい develop is still offered if you’re asking someone a question).

The salaryguy looks at the selection of ties and, a little disappointed, offers an invariation of this framework, with the word もの — “thing.”

うーん、試着したいものが一つもないな。(うーん、しちゃくしたい ものが ひとつも ないな。)Hmm, I don’t also view one that I want to try on.

The staff member, shocked at this very blunt retort, responds:

あの、先程のボウタイをもう一度見たくないですか?(あの、さきほどの ぼうたいを もういちど みたくないですか?)Uhh, don’t you desire to look at those bow ties from earlier one more time?

Unenthusiastically, he grabs a tie at random and starts walking toward the cash register.

じゃあ、これにします。I’ll take this one, then.

3. Using ~てほしい via verbs: I desire you to market me this necktie

Japanese sindicate tacks that ~ほしい from earlier onto the finish of a て develop verb to convey the concept of “wanting someone to do somepoint for you.”

This is great bereason it means that we don’t have to complicate the sentence framework by including a conjunction prefer “for” and also we deserve to likewise proceed making use of the same conjugations we learned previously. Again, tbelow are just three actions.

1. Pick a verb. Any verb.

2. Conjugate that verb to its て form.

3. Add ~ほしい directly onto the finish of the verb’s て develop.


You can check your expertise of this over at JLPTsensei.

Here are some examples:

売る (うる) — to sell: 売る → 売って (うって) → 売ってほしい (うってほしい) — I want you to sell…

飲む (のむ) — to drink: 飲む → 飲んで (のんで) → 飲んでほしい (のんでほしい) — I want you to drink…

辞める (やめる) — to quit/resign: 辞める → 辞めて (やめて) → 辞めてほしい (やめてほしい) — I desire you to quit…

Back at the save, the disappointed salarymale approaches a cashier’s booth and, looking up, notices that the cashier is wearing an tremendous tie. He exclaims:

うわ!そのネクタイ、売ってほしいです!売ってください!(うわ!その ねくたい、うって ほしいです!うって ください!)Divine smokes! I want you to offer me that necktie! Please offer it to me!

You can notice that the expressions “I want you to (do something)” and “please (carry out something)” sound fairly equivalent. Saying “please” could be a tiny more direct, but aside from that, these creates are largely interchangeable.

Hence, having actually been asked to sell the tie that’s component of his unidevelop, the cashier might respond:

怒らないで聞いてほしいのですが、このネクタイは非売品です。(おこらないで きいて ほしいのですが、この ねくたいは ひばいひん です。)Please listen and don’t be angry however this necktie isn’t for sale.

The salarymale, desperate, leaps over the table and tries to tear the tie from the cashier’s neck. They brawl for a few minutes before security arrives to take care of the case. Panting and exasperated, the cashier might rudely exclaim:

この店に二度と来てほしくないです!(このみせに にどと きてほしくないです!)I don’t want you to ever go back to this store!

4. ~たがる with verbs: He wanted to kill me!

Unfortunately, it’s a small more hard to talk about what various other civilization want to do in Japanese. This is bereason Japanese marks words to display evidentiality or describe how a offered item of indevelopment was obtained. This normally requires grammar that’s more tough than the ~たい create itself and also there are a couple of ways to go about it, however to stop complicating this short article as well a lot, I’ll only talk around among them.

To expush that “someone else wants to carry out something” you can:

1. Add a judgment to the finish of a ~たい form verb.

2. Rearea the ~たい in a ~たい develop verb via ~たがる.

3. Add ~ですか to the finish of a ~たい create verb to ask if someone else desires to do something.

See more: Human Communication Is Symbolic. Why? Understanding Human Communication Ch 1

If you’re curious, ~たがる is actually the normal ~たい create supplied with the sufdeal with ~がる. The suffix ~がる conveys the meaning of “seeming” or “mirroring signs of,” so ~たがる actually suggests something prefer “mirroring indicators of wanting to execute something.”

That aside, it’s okay to think of this develop as meaning “(someone else) desires to execute something.” For example:

殺す (ころす) — to kill: 殺す → 殺します (ころします) → 殺したい (ころしたい) → 殺したがる (ころしたがる) — (He) desires to kill…

~たがる conjugateways in the same method as form one (う) verbs prefer 怒る (おこる) — to be angry or 走る (はしる) — to run. It’s frequently provided in the ている form.

Here are some fundamental formal conjugations of this:

Present positive ている: 殺したがっています (ころしたがって います) ― (He) wants to kill…

Present out negative ている: 殺したがっていません (ころしたがって いません) ― (He) doesn’t want to kill…

Past positive ている: 殺したがっていました (ころしたがって いました) ― (He) wanted to kill…

Past negative ている: 殺したがっていませんでした (ころしたがって いませんでした) ― (He) didn’t want to kill…

And below are the casual versions (the definitions are the same; just the level of formality alters here):

Present out positive ている: 殺したがっている (ころしたがって いる)

Present out negative ている: 殺したがっていない (ころしたがって いない)

Past positive ている: 殺したがっていた (ころしたがって いた)

Past negative ている: 殺したがっていなかった (ころしたがって いなかった)

Let’s say that the store manager comes out to reprimand the cashier for not offering the customer the respect due of his position. After all, the customer is king. Flustered, the cashier responds:

だ…だ…だけど、お客さんは私を殺したがっていました!(だ…だ…だけど、おきゃくさんは わたしを ころしたがって いました!)B..bu..yet, the customer wanted to kill me!

To which the manager responds,

そんなことがある訳ないでしょう。お客さんは、ただあなたのネクタイを触りたがっていただけでしたよ。(そんなことが あるわけない でしょう。おきゃくさんは、ただ あなたの ねくたいを さわりたがって いただけでしたよ。)That’s crazy. All he wanted wregarding touch your tie!

After such a response, it could be safe to say that the cashier is 仕事を辞めたがっています (しごとを やめたがって います) — wanting to quit his job!

While expressing desire in Japanese might be a little bit more complex than in English, the various methods to say “I want” in Japanese are also quite unambiguously marked. With a bit of exercise, it’ll come to be second nature before you recognize it! Download: This blog post is easily accessible as a convenient and portable PDF that you have the right to take everywhere. Click below to acquire a copy. (Download)