Expressing Wants in Japanese

In Japanese you may want to know how to say – “I want this” or “I want that” or  “I want to do” something. Just like in English – there be more than one way to say this.
This article breaks down the different ways that you can express wants in Japanese.

Japanese phrases that express “want” or “wanting to do”

I want something
I want to do something
Other people  want something
Other people want to do something


I Want Something
When you are expressing something that you wish to have in Japanese,   you can use the word ほしい (hoshii).
ほしい is an i-adjective. It follows the grammar rules of i-adjectives in the Japanese Language. (If you want to learn about another cool i-adjective in the Japanese language – then click here.)
An easy sentence pattern that you can use is:
「 Objects + が +ほしい 」

Japanese Sentence Pattern, image, photo, picture, illustration

Japanese Sentence Pattern

Atarashii keitai ga hoshii
(I)want a new phone.
Kuruma ga hoshii
(I) want a car.
In English –
When expressing that you don’t want something, Change the wordほしい to its negative form “ほしくない”.
For example:
Kare ga hoshikunai
I don’t want a boyfriend.


I Want to Do Something

When expressing an action which you want to do, change the verb into its masu-form and change “ます” to “たい”.For example: “食べます” will be changed to “食べたい”
Example of how to express in a sentence
Gyuunyuu o/ga nomitai
(I) want to drink milk.
*When the verb is a transitive verb, both “を” and”が” are correct for highlightingt the subject.
Ie de  ge-mushitai
(I) want to play games at home.
Tomodachi to kaimono ni ikitai
I want to go shopping with my friends.
Similar to “ほしい” you can also use the negative form of “たい” to express something that you don’t want to do.
For example:
 Byouin ni ikitakunai
I don’t want to go to a hospital.

Other People Want Something

When expressing the desires of other people, use  “ほしがっている” instead of “ほしい”.

Japanese Sentence Pattern, image, photo, picture, illustration

Japanese Sentence Pattern

*For both ”ほしがっている” and “たがっている”, the particle for transitive verb should be always “を”.
Hayashi-san wa okane o hoshigatteiru
Hayashi wants money.


Other people want to do something

When expressing things other people want to do, Instead of using  “たい”, change it to “たがっている”
Imouto wa itsumo anime o mitagatteiru
My younger sister always wants to watch anime.
Haha wa ano kabin o kaitagatteimasu
My mom wants to buy that vase.

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