Tuesday, October 30, 2018

ほしい vs. たい

A question people often have about hoshi 欲しい, or rather, hoshii ほしい, an auxiliary adjective that means "want" in Japanese, is: what's the difference between hoshii and tai たい, another auxiliary which also means "want" in Japanese?

Difference in Usage

Well, the difference is simple: -tai ~たい defaults to saying "I want to do" while hoshii ほしい defaults to "I want you to do." For example:
  • shinitai 死にたい
    [I] want to die.
  • shinde hoshii 死んでほしい
    I want [you] to die.

Another example:
  • koroshitai 殺したい
    [I] want to kill [someone].
  • korosaretai 殺されたい
    [I] want to be killed [by someone].
  • koroshite hoshii 殺してほしい
    [I] want [you] to kill [me].
    [I] want [you] to kill [someone].
    [I] want [someone] to kill [someone else].
  • nigetai 逃げたい
    [I] want to run away.
    [I] want to escape.
  • nigete hoshii 逃げてほしい
    [I] want [you] to run away.
    [I] want [you] to escape.

Some less edgy examples:
  • oshietai 教えたい
    [I] want to teach.
  • oshiete hoshii 教えてほしい
    [I] want [you] to teach [me].
  • yomitai 読みたい
    [I] want to read.
  • yonde hoshii 呼んでほしい
    [I] want [you] to read [something] [for me].
  • akirametai 諦めたい
    [I] want to give up.
  • akiramete hoshii 諦めてほしい
    [I] want [you] to give up.

Moraitai もらいたい

Note that, in many cases, hoshii is practically synonymous with the verb morau もらう plus -tai, that is, moraitai もらいたい. See:
  • tsukuru 作る
    To build. To make.
  • tsukuritai 作りたい
    [I] want to build [something].
  • tsukutte morau 作ってもらう
    To have [you] build [something] [for me].
    To have [someone] build [something].
  • tsukutte moraitai 作ってもらいたい
    [I] want to have [you] build [something] [for me]
    [I] want to have [someone] build [something].
  • tsukutte hoshii 作ってほしい
    [I] want [you] to build [something] [for me]
    [I] want [someone] to build [something].


Lastly, as you may have already noticed, hoshii is added to the te-form of verbs, while -tai ~たい suffixes the connective form, the ren'youkei 連用形.

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