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Expressing Want In Japanese ほしい・~たい

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

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ベリーくん: えさがほしい…ちょうだい?

こんにちは, everyone! Welcome back to Teach Me Japanese.

You're here because you want to learn more Japanese right? But do you know how to say want?

Let's find out!


Today's Vocabulary

  • noun

アルバム ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- album

苺(いちご)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- strawberry

お母さん(おかあさん)----------------------------------------------------------------------------- mom

夫(おっと)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- husband

お兄ちゃん(おにいちゃん)------------------------------------------------------------------- older brother

ゲーム ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ video game

ココア ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ hot chocolate

こと ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- thing (abstract)

子供(こども)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ child/children

コンピューター ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- computer

コーヒー ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ coffee

サンドイッチ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- sandwich

仕事(しごと)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- work; job

写真(しゃしん)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ photograph

日本(にほん)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Japan

ピザ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- pizza

プール ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- pool

ボールペン ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ball-point pen

息子(むすこ)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- son

娘(むすめ)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- daughter

物(もの)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- thing (material)

指輪(ゆびわ)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ring

旅行(りょこう)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- travel

  • い adjective

高い(たかい)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- tall; high; expensive

欲しい(ほしい)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- wanted

  • auxiliary adjective

~たい ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- want to do (something)

  • う verb

言う(いう)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to say

行く(いく)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to go

泳ぐ(およぐ)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to swim

撮る(とる)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to take (a picture)

住む(すむ)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to live

飲む(のむ)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to drink

欲しがる(ほしがる)------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to want

休む(やすむ)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to rest

  • る verb

食べる(たべる)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to eat

知る(しる)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to know

辞める(やめる)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to quit

  • する verb

勉強する(べんきょうする)---------------------------------------------------------------- to study

  • expression

何か(なにか)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- something; anything




ほしい is an い adjective and is used for saying I want _____. You must use particle

to connect the noun to ほしい.



➤ サンドイッチがほしいです。

➤ ➤ I want a sandwich.


➤ コンピューターがほしいです。

➤ ➤ I want a computer.

In Japanese culture, you cannot assume the inner desires or feelings of another. Therefore,

ほしい is usually only used for expressing your own wishes. In reference to someone else,

the only times you may use ほしい are when quoting someone, stating an observation, or asking a question.

Quoting Someone:


➤ サラさんはボールペンがほしいといいました

➤ ➤ Sara said that she wants a pen.

Stating an Observation:


➤ サラさんはボールペンがほしいようです

➤ ➤ It would seem that Sara wants a pen.

Asking a Question:

*NOT to be used with someone of higher status than yourself*


➤ サラさんはボールペンがほしいですか

➤ ➤ Sara, do you want a pen?


➤ サラさんはほしいものがありますか

➤ ➤ Is there anything you want, Sara?

Since ほしい is an い adjective, it conjugates as following:

Non-past affirmative - ほしい(です)


➤ ベンツがほしいです

➤ ➤ I want a Mercedes Benz.

Non-past negative - ほしくない(です)


➤ こどもがほしくない

➤ ➤ I don't want kids.

Past affirmative - ほしかった(です)


➤ チョコパイがほしかった

➤ ➤ I wanted a choco-pie.

Past negative - ほしくなかった(です)


➤ たかいゆびわがほしくなかったです

➤ ➤ I didn't want an expensive ring.




When you speak of the desires of others, you must use 欲しがる(ほしがる). In this

case you conjugate the verb 欲しがる using ている form and use particle を to connect

the noun:


➤ キャンディーちゃんはイチゴをほしがっている

➤ ➤ Candy-chan wants a strawberry.


➤ おにいちゃんはパラモアのアルバムをほしがっている

➤ ➤ My older brother wants a Paramore album.


➤ むすこはゲームをほしがっている

➤ ➤ My son wants a video game.




So we know how to say we want something, but how do we say we want to do something?

In order to do this we must use verbたい, conjugating the verb just as we would in

ます form:



➤ ➤ I want to eat pizza .


➤ ココアがのみたい

➤ ➤ I want to drink hot chocolate.

Verbs that require the use of a particle other than を normally still use the same particle as before:


➤ にほんにいきたいです。

➤ ➤ I want to go to Japan.


➤ プールでおよぎたい

➤ ➤ I want to swim in the pool.

Just as with ほしい, you can not assume what someone else desires to do. You can use

たい for other people only when you are quoting someone, stating an observation, or

asking questions.

Quoting Someone:


➤ おかあさんはやすみたいといった

➤ ➤ Mom said she wants to rest.

Stating an Observation:


➤ ジョンさんはしごとをやめたいらしいです

➤ ➤ It would seem that John wants to quit his job.

Asking Questions:


➤ しゃしんをとりたいですか

➤ ➤ Do you want to take a picture?


➤ なにかべんきょうしたいことがある

Is there anything you want to study?

たい functions and conjugates like an い adjective:

Non-past affirmative - ~たい(です)

Non-past negative - ~たくない(です)

Past affirmative - ~たかった(です)

Past negative - ~たくなかった(です)




Because you cannot assume the feelings and desires of others, you must use たがる when

you wish to state something that someone else wants to do. Just as with ほしがる, we conjugate たがる with ている form:


➤ リリーはコーヒーをのみたがっている

➤ ➤ Lilly wants to drink coffee.


➤ おっとはりょこうをしたがっています

➤ ➤ My husband wants to travel.


➤ わたしのむすめはとうきょうにすみたがっている

➤ ➤ My daughter wants to live in Tokyo.


And that's it for today's lesson 〔´∇`〕


➤ しりたいことがある?

➤ ➤ Is there anything you'd like to know?

Ask your questions down below and don't forget to check out our resources page for even more fun ways to learn Japanese!

As always, がんばってね!


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