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I always place verbs with the "~たがる" ending (called a helping verb?) in the present continuous, or past continuous state:
行きたがっている。
食べたがっていた。

I am having trouble with using the non-continuous tenses (行きたがる、食べたがった) to express myself. The meaning of "~たがる", as I understand it, lends itself too much to being in a continuous state of "wanting to do something" or "having wanted to do something".

I kind of see my strategy as always using the continuous tenses to express myself. And, if I ever hear the non-continuous tenses, then I can understand (but, I cannot remember ever hearing the usage of a non-continuous tense).

Examples of when "~たがる" cannot be used in a continuous tense (the "~たがっている" and "~たがっていた" continuous tenses) would be very helpful to me.

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~行きたがりそう (along with other verbs) is one example of ~たがるis not used in the continuous tense that I have come across. –  Tim Jan 30 at 6:59
    
I think you can say 子どもがしょっちゅうディズニーランドに行きたがる / 女子は集団で弁当を食べたがる / なんでみんなメジャーリーグに行きたがるんだ? etc. (for a habitual action?) –  Choko Jan 30 at 8:07

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This question is twofold or rather based on misunderstanding.

You wrote "to express myself" twice, so I could not be misreading it. You have been saying things like 「行きたがっている。」 and 「 食べたがっていた。」 about yourself, correct? If so, you have been using「がる」 incorrectly or at least in a highly unnatural way.

「がる」 is generally used to describe other people's desires, not your own. The exceptions are where you speak of your own wish from another person's viewpoint or in an objective way.

Incorrect:「ボクはスイスに[行]{い}きたがっている。」

Correct:「ボクがスイスに行きたがっているのを[君]{きみ}は[知]{し}っている。」= "You know that I have been wanting to go to Switzerland."

Correct:「ボクはスイスに行きたい。」= I want to go to Switzerland."

Correct:「[花子]{はなこ}さんはスイスに行きたがっている。」= "Hanako wants to go to Switzerland."

Now we could finally discuss the non-progressive (or non-continuous in your word). Chocolate gave good examples in her comment above. Note that the subjects are all third persons in her example sentences as well. That is how native speakers use がる.

Other examples from me:

General/Present:「子どもがほしがるからって、アメばっかりあげないでよ!」= "Don't keep giving the kids candies just because they want them!"

Future:「このTシャツ、[山田]{やまだ}に[見]{み}せたら[絶対]{ぜったい}ほしがるだろうな。」= If I show this T-shirt to Yamada, he will definitely want it.

Past:「[東京]{とうきょう}の[写真]{しゃしん}をたくさんジョンに[見]{み}せたけど、あまり行きたがらなかった。」= "I showed John many photos of Tokyo but he did not seem to want to go (to Tokyo) much."

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The way I understood the question was that "express myself" didn't imply that the OP used 行きたがる to express his/her own desire to go. Maybe the OP could clarify. –  Earthliŋ Jan 30 at 10:56

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