In the Japanese language, if the speaker wants to express the will he himself wants to do, 'たい ' is usually used. For example:

I want to buy this book.

I want to go back home.

But how to say something like, "do you want to", or "does he want to" in Japanese? Can I say, '君.....たがる’?、or ’彼.....たがる’? For instance:

Do you want to go back to the company? '会社に戻りたがる?

Do they want to play in the park? 彼らは公園で遊びたがりますか?

Am I right?      


2 Answers 2


When asking a question, you still will want to use たい instead of たがる. The reason for this is that がる really means that you are concluding based on certain observations, and also makes the sentence sound impersonal. This is why it is suitable for third person but not first person, because using it with the latter would make it sound like you're guessing your own emotions and desires.

When asking what the listener wants, there is no need to use the がる grammar because you aren't making any conclusions based on observations, you're just asking them what they want. Simply using たい is fine.

I believe when asking what a 3rd person wants, you should still use the がる grammar because it still gives an impersonal/distant feel. I'm inclined to say, though, that using でしょう instead is used a lot more in daily speech for stating what a 3rd person wants than たがる.


Since たがる means "to try to do something", you can use it as long as "to want" is interchangeable to "to try to do", (though たがる has contemptuous nuance and not desirable to aply to actions by a specific person who is supposed to be respected like your teacher). Otherwise, it doesn't work.

As for your examples, in addition to Blavius's answer, "Do they want to play in the park? " is mostly said in a situation when you are deducing a conclusion based on some observations like this.

  • "Why are they gathering there? Do they want to play in the park?"

In that case, you use a のだ form, that is, あの子たちは公園で遊びたいのですか?.

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