Beginner1 > Lesson 11
Lesson 11. “I want to~” (-고 싶다)
In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to use Verb-고 싶다 in a sentence to mean «I want to / I prefer to».
First of all, Verb-고 싶다 is mostly used when the subject is “I” (it can be used when the subject is “you,” but that’s mostly in questions, like Do you want~?)
If the subject is the other or third person, it’s better to use -고 싶어하다 (-고 싶다 + 아/어 하다), which we’ll also briefly cover in this lesson.
V-고 싶다 is not used with adjectives or Noun + 이다. To say that someone «wants to be Adjective/Noun», you have to use a different grammatical pattern. (cf. verb-았/었으면 좋겠다 – we’ll learn more about this expression in Beginner 3 course.)
Let’s look at some examples:
먹다 (to eat) > 먹고 싶다 – to want to eat
가다 (to go) > 가고 싶다 – to want to go
보다 (to see) > 보고 싶다 – to want to see
되다 (to become) > 되고 싶다 – to want to become
사다 (to buy) > 사고 싶다 – to want to buy
Note: Sometimes, you’ll hear native speakers say, “행복하 (to be happy)+고 싶다,” “건강하(to be healthy)+고 싶다” etc using adjectives; although these are spoken quite often and it does get the meaning across, they aren’t entirely grammatically correct. However, as common as they are, you can normally get by using this construction.
Now, let’s look at how to use ~고 싶다 using different tenses.
- –고 싶다 in the Present Tense (I want to~)
To say that you want to do something in the Present Tense, you have to
1) take the stem of a verb in a sentence,
2) put 고 싶다 directly after this verb,
and 3) then conjugate 싶다 in present tense.
1),2) Verb Stem + 고 싶다 : to want to Verb
3) Verb Stem + 고 싶다 + 아/어요 = Verb-고 싶어(요) : I want to verb
Let’s look at some examples:
저는 밥을 먹고 싶어요. – I want to eat.
친구들과 카페에 가고 싶어. – I want to go to a coffee shop with my friends.
저는 한국어를 공부하고 싶어요. – I want to learn Korean.
저는 새 핸드폰을 사고 싶어요. – I want to buy a new phone.
이 책을 읽고 싶어? – Do you want to read this book?
- –고 싶다 in Past Tense (I wanted to~)
~고 싶다 can also be used in Past Tense to indicate that you wanted to do something in the past. To do so, you can conjugate 싶다 in past tense : 싶었어/싶었어요.
Verb Stem + 고 싶었어(요) = I wanted to Verb
주다 (to give) > 여자친구한테 선물을 주고 싶었어요. – I wanted to give a gift to my girlfriend.
자다 (to sleep) > 일찍 자고 싶었어요. – I wanted to sleep early.
일어나다 (to wake up) > 늦게 일어나고 싶었어요? – Did you want to wake up late?
공부하다 (to study) > 공부하고 싶었어요. – I wanted to study.
전화하다 (to call) > 전화하고 싶었어. – I wanted to call.
- –고 싶다 in Future Tense (I will/might want~)
~고 싶다 can also be used in future tense, and you can simply conjugate 싶다 to a future tense form: 싶을 거예요
Verb Stem + 고 싶을 거예요 = I will/might want to Verb
You use it when you want to indicate that you will/might want to do something in the future. You predict or guess your future actions.
Let’s look at the conjugations:
먹다 (to eat) > 먹고 싶을 거예요. – I will/might want to eat.
가다 (to go) > 가고 싶을 거예요. – I will/might want to go.
보다 (to see) > 보고 싶을 거예요. – I will/might want to see/watch, I will/might miss someone. [보고 싶다 also means to miss someone.]
공부하다 (to study) > 공부하고 싶을 거예요. – I will/might want to study.
사다 (to buy) > 사고 싶을 거예요. – I will/might want to buy.
- Verb ~고 싶어하다 (when the subject is the third person)
When you want to say that the third person wants to do something, we normally use a different grammatical pattern.
You take a verb stem and add -고 싶어하다 [싶다 + 아/어하다] right after it. We’ll learn more in-depth about Adj+아/어하다 construction in Beginner 2 Course, but for now you can just remember that it’s mostly used with a third-person subject. (*note: -고 싶다 is considered an adjective rather than a verb.]
Verb Stem + ~고 싶어하다 :
읽다 (to read) > 읽고 싶어하다
마시다 (to drink) > 마시고 싶어하다
오다 (to come) > 오고 싶어하다
하다 (to do) > 하고 싶어하다
만들다 (to make) > 만들고 싶어하다
Now let’s look at some example sentences :
우리 엄마는 케이크를 만들고 싶어해요. – My mom wants to make a cake.
제 친구는 그 영화를 보고 싶어해요. – My friend wants to watch that movie.
제프는 한국어를 잘 하고 싶어해요. – Jeff wants to speak Korean well.
우리 여동생은 가수가 되고 싶어해요. – My younger sister wants to become a singer.
- ~고 싶다 Negative Form (We will learn more in-depth about verb/adj negation in the next lesson!)
There are two ways to negate ~고 싶다. Let’s look at both:
- 안 + Verb Stem + 고 싶다
- Verb Stem + ~고 싶지 않다
먹다 (to eat) > 안 먹고 싶다 / 먹고 싶지 않다. – to not want to eat
가다 (to go) > 안 가고 싶다 / 가고 싶지 않다. – to not want to go
보다 (to see) > 안 보고 싶다 / 보고 싶지 않다. – to not want to watch.
되다 (to become) > 안 되고 싶다 / 되고 싶지 않다. – to not want to become
사다 (to buy) > 안 사고 싶다 / 사고 싶지 않다 – to not want to buy.
저는 숙제를 안 하고 싶어요 / 저는 숙제를 하고 싶지 않아요. – I don’t want to do the homework.
저는 일찍 안 자고 싶어요. / 저는 일찍 자고 싶지 않아요. – I don’t want to go to bed early.
제프의 파티에 안 가고 싶어요. / 제프의 파티에 가고 싶지 않아요. – I don’t want to go to Jeff’s party.
비가 와서 밖에 안 가고 싶어요. / 비가 와서 밖에 가고 싶지 않아요. – I don’t want to go outside because it’s raining.
I want to~
Present Tense: Verb Stem + 고 싶다
Past Tense: Verb Stem + 고 싶었어요
Future Tense: Verb Stem + 고 싶을 거예요
The third person wants to~
Verb Stem + 고 싶어하다
I don’t want to~
안 + Verb Stem + 고 싶다
Verb Stem + ~고 싶지 않다