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To Want ~がほしい

Oni's picture

Saying "I want (something)" is pretty easy.  Just say the thing you want and add ga hoshii to it.

のみもの が ほしい です 
nomimono ga hoshii desu. 
(I) want a drink.

NOTE: The desu is optional and is usually dropped.  nomimono ga hoshii. is perfectly fine in spoken Japanese.

Next, let's ask a question.  Can you figure out how to do it?  That's right add a ka REVIEW HERE

ケーキ が ほしい です  
ke-ki ga hoshii desu ka? 
Do you want cake?

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I heard that...

I heard that there's ほしいand ほっしい, so this is kind of confusing.. are they the same? or it's just another way of saying it(or typing it)?

what about subject

How do you know to read that as do you want cake, do I want cake, or even does he want cake? Sorry if that's a stupid question I'm new here.


If you ask the question, 'want cake?', it's obvious that you're asking the listener if they want cake. Since we don't say 'want cake?' in natural adult English (although we do as children and when speaking to them), we translate it as 'do -you- want cake?'.

The sentence -could- mean 'does he want cake?', in the right conversational context, but that's not the normal interpretation. Mostly you'd specify the subject if the listener isn't the one whose desires you're asking about.

'Do I want cake?' is not really possible because it's a nonsense question to ask another person. You'd have to specify the subject because it's a totally unexpected question.

Japanese is a context-sensitive language, so, a lot of sentences will seem to be lacking information (compared to English) that you are expected to understand from the context (the actual situation or what has already been stated in conversation.)

Would "do I want cake" be

Would "do I want cake" be possible in a context of a thought vocalized to oneself—say, wandering around the kitchen—maybe with a なぁ? "ケーキとオレンジと、どちらが欲しいかなぁ。。。。" ("Hmm.... Do I want cake or an orange?")


I think that rhetorical self

I think that rhetorical self question would be

I'm not sure but I feel the 欲しい is strange there. I'm sure it is possible to use 欲しい in some rhetorical questions to oneself though.

When asking a question, do

When asking a question, do you have to have the です in the sentence or will just adding か be fine?

clay's picture

It is common in casual speech

It is common in casual speech to drop the "desu."

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