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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!