Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Expressing Desire (-고 싶다)

In English, verbs such as “want” and “wish” are used to express one’s desire, as in “I want to sleep” or “I wish to buy it”. In Korean, -고 싶다, consisting of a connector -고 and the auxiliary adjective 싶다, is used to express the first person’s desire or wish.

Since one cannot speak for the second person’s desire, -고 싶다 cannot be used for a second person statement. However it can be used for second person questions.

To indicate the third person’s wish in both statements and questions, -고 싶어하다 is used:

To express past tense, the past tense marker 었 is added to the stem of the auxiliary adjective 싶다.

Notice that the sentences above all have the past tense marker 었 attached to the stem of 싶다 or 싶어하다.
To express the honorific meaning, the honorific suffix -(으)시 is added to the stem of 싶다.

One thing to remember is that -고 싶다 and -고 싶어하다 do not take the copula 이다 “be”. For saying “(I) want to be a teacher”, the verb 되다 “become” is used instead, as in 선생님이 되고 싶어요. A sentence like 선생님이 이고 싶어요 is ungrammatical. This contrasts with English since sentences like “I want to be a teacher” and “I want to become a teacher” are both possible.

To negate, one can use either a short form negation "안" or a long form negation "지 않다". For example, 가게 문을 열고 싶어요 “(I) want to open the store door” can be negated both in the short and long form:

* Click to read related posts.
Grammar for Intermediates
Endings of Sentences
Question Words (의문사) & Indefinite Pronouns (부정대명사)
Past tense and double past tense (과거시제)
Negation (부정문)

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