Sometimes I want to tell expressions like:

Mrs. Honda wants to swim in the sea.

All I have in my Japanese notes is:

私はケータイがほしいです。(Syntax used for expressing my personal desires for an object)
本田さんはケータイをほしがっています。(Syntax used for when a third party wants/desires an object.)
子どもはアイスクリームをほしがります。(Syntax used when a group of people wants something.)

As is noticed above the ほしい(です) part becomes ほしがる. Does this apply when talking about what a 3rd party person wants. either is an object or an action that wants to do.

  • 1
    「ほじかったいます」もタイポでは・・・? Are you sure it was what you meant to type? Also, アイスクウリーム-> アイスクリーム
    – chocolate
    Jun 20, 2016 at 13:28
  • 1
    Ekhmmm... when I said 〜がほしい instead of 〜を I meant that for every example.
    – macraf
    Jun 20, 2016 at 14:11
  • You use が for ケータイほしいです cos ほしい is an i-adjective but を for ケータイほしがっています cos ほしがる is a verb. (I edited your examples) By the way, XXはYYをほしがっています and XXはYYをほしがます are a bit different.
    – chocolate
    Jun 21, 2016 at 1:17

1 Answer 1


According to Senko Maynard (2009:172), the difference between ~たい and ~たがる is due to a distinction made between what a person directly experiences or feels and information a person has only indirect access to.

In the same way, the Kurosio Dictionary of Grammar (2014:202) says ~たがる is "used to express the wishes or desires of a third person", implying the meaning of "showing signs of s.t.". It seems like we can just tell someone/something shows signs of wanting to do something.

  • So the answer to my problem is: 本田さん海で泳ぎたがります。 Right? Jun 20, 2016 at 16:01
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    Yup! Or else 「本田さんは海で泳ぎたがる。」with the particle :)
    – hikkifan
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:23
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    本田さんは海で泳ぎたがる -> Usually we say 本田さんは海で泳ぎたがっている。(or 泳ぎたがっています。 in the polite form), no?
    – chocolate
    Jun 21, 2016 at 1:11
  • @chocolate Indeed! I didn't pay enough attention to the structure being used mainly in the present continuous, sorry about that
    – hikkifan
    Jun 21, 2016 at 1:50

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