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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is...How do you say “someone wants to do something” in Japanese, if you don’t use the -tai form?
You may have already learned that you add -tai at the end of Japanese verbs to indicate that you want to do something. For example, 飲みたい (nomitai) for, “I want to drink,” and 食べたい (tabetai) for, “I want to eat.” So how do you say what someone else wants to do in Japanese?
If you’re talking about what someone else wants to do, you have to use the ending がる (-garu) or a phrase to quote someone’s thought like と思っています(-to omotte imasu.) meaning “think that --.”
Let’s go through some examples so you can learn how to say what someone else wants to do correctly.
Let’s say your female friend wants to go to the zoo. You might say, 彼女は、動物園に行きたがっています。(Kanojo wa, dōbutsuen ni ikitagatte imasu.) “She wants to go to the zoo.” Remember, in this case, you need to use がっています, (-gatte imasu) instead of just がる。 (-garu.)
However, you can also use -tai to describe what someone else wants to do. For example, 彼女は、お昼にカレーが食べたいと思っています。(Kanojo wa, o-hiru ni karē ga tabetai to omotte imasu.) “She wants to eat curry for lunch.” In this case, you also add と思っています (-to omotte imasu) to quote her thought. It would literally translate as, “She thinks she wants to eat curry for lunch.”
If you want to ask someone directly if they want to do something, you can use -tai, as well. For example, if you want to invite your friend for a drink, you can say, コーヒーが飲みたいですか。(Kōhī ga nomitai desu ka.) “Do you want to drink coffee?” But, a more natural way to invite someone would be, コーヒーはいかがですか。(Kōhī wa ikaga desu ka.) ”How about a coffee?”
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね![mata ne!] See you!


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JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 7th, 2016 at 06:30 PM
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What Japanese learning question do you have?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 14th, 2022 at 02:16 PM
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Hi Fish,

Thank you for your comment!

I agree with you...

Your sentence would be like this in Japanese.



(Watashi wa) aisu kurīmu ga tabetai desu kedo, futoru kara tabetaku arimasen.

Demo, yappari tabetai desu.

Please let us know if you have any further question😊



Team JapanesePod101.com

March 13th, 2022 at 06:40 PM
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Hi Japanese Pod,

Could I ask this question: How can we say "I want to eat ice-cream, but I also don't want to eat ice-cream because it makes me get fat, but I still want to eat ice-cream" in Japanese??

Thanks a lot,


JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 2nd, 2020 at 05:18 PM
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All the sentences you have are correct👍

With 言っています and 言いました, it's formal and the last one is informal.

Kelly Taylorさん


Yes, that works😉

Please let us know if you have any questions :)



Team JapanesePod101.com

Kelly Taylor
October 30th, 2020 at 01:18 PM
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Does 'Sushi wa ikaga desu ka?' work the same?

October 23rd, 2020 at 06:50 AM
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Can we say: 彼女は動物園に行きたいと言っています. OR ..と言いました。Or just 彼女は動物園にいきたいって。

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 11th, 2019 at 02:58 PM
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Hi Simon McRae,

Thank you for the comment.

-Tai is actually an auxiliary adjective, following with masu-stem of a verb.

And it is conjugated as an i-adjective, like

tabetai desu

tabetakunai desu

tabetakatta desu

tabetakunakatta desu

Hope this helps!



Team JapanesePod101.com

Simon McRae
September 3rd, 2019 at 05:28 AM
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Does -tai actually turn a verb into an adjective (or maybe a predicate adjective or verbal adjective)?

It seems like the -tai form behaves like an adjective in that it takes "ga" before it instead of "wo", and because it can take "desu" directly after (which I don't think plain verbs do)...

Or is it some other type of verbal form?

Just wondering

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 23rd, 2018 at 10:42 AM
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Could you please clarify whether you mean "He thinks he wants to meet my/his family." or "My/His family thinks they want to meet him"?

The former one is translated as "彼は私の(彼の)家族に会いたいと思っています。" or "彼は私の(彼の)家族に会いたがっています。" and the latter one is translated as "私の(彼の)家族は彼に会いたいと思っています。” or "私の(彼の)家族は彼に会いたがっています。"

Hope this helps you?

Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com



Team JapanesePod101.com

February 22nd, 2018 at 09:44 PM
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彼は家族が会いたいと思っています。彼は家族が会いたがっています。ok ですか

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 20th, 2016 at 04:37 AM
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Yes, you understand Japanese correctly.

“I own the Blu-Ray. I own the DVD. I even own the LaserDisc!” measn “私はブルーレイを持っています。私はDVD


Yuki  由紀

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