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How to express desire in Japanese


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Ok, guys, today we`ll talk about how to say you want something in Japanese language. There are couple ways to express desire in Japanese.

1) To express your own desire (1-st person desirative) it is necessary to use たい [tai]. Desire expression is formed by adding たい to a verb of masu-form:

会う+たいー>会いたい [auー>aitai] 'meet'

歩く+たいー>歩きたい [arukuー>arukitai] 'walk'

急ぐ+たいー>急ぎたい [isoguー>isogitai] 'hury'

話す+たいー>話したい [hanasuー>hanasitai] 'speak'

死ぬ+たいー>死にたい [sinuー>sinitai] 'dead'

学ぶ+たいー>学びたい [manabuー>manabitai] 'study'

読む+たいー>読みたい [yomuー>yomitai] 'read'

待つ+たいー>待ちたい [matsuー>machitai] 'wait'

分かる+たいー>分かりたい [wakaruー>wakaritai] 'think'

見るー>見たい [miruー>mitai] 'see'

伸びるー>伸びたい [nobiruー>nobitai] 'stretch'

食べるー>食べたい [taberuー>tabetai] 'eat'

するー>したい [suruー>sitai] 'do'

来るー>きたい [kuruー>kitai] 'come'

Ok, one more thing about たい. As you can see there is no たい form for ます because using たい to express one`s desire is intrinsically selfish. So, if you want to use たい and make sentence less selfish you can use 'I think/I would like to...' form (と思う[to omou]):


[atarashii kuruma o kaitai to omoimasu]

I think I would like to buy a new car.

Also, to make sentence more poliite you may add です at the end of a sentence (because たい is an adjective):


[atarashii kuruma o kaitai desu]

I want to buy a new car.

2) 欲しい [hoshii] - to desire something in a particular state. It means that you cannot use the first form to say, for instance, 'I want this door red' because 'red' is a state of a door. To express a state desirative  you need to add verbal adjective て form to the adjective 欲しい:


[kono doa ga akakutehoshii]

(I) want this door red.

Important, note that even though these are verbal adjectives, they are still adjectives first hand. That`s why we use the particle が instead of を.

欲しい is also a selfish desire expression. To soften a sentence with 欲しい you can use です as well:



I want it made.

3) There are a way to describe desire of second and third person. You just need to add たがる [tagaru] to a verb of た・だ-form:


[kimiko san ga detagaru soo desu]

It seams Kimiko wants to leave.

The negative form for たがる is a normal verb negative, being either たがらない or たがりません.

Well, that`s it. Now you can use these particles to express desire. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes most Japanese will say that the "-tai" forms are too direct and personal to be used to refer to second and third persons. They say that "-tagaru" and its "masu" forms are much more polite especially when talking about others apart from yourself.

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