As far as I know, for expressing you want to do something, you have to just attach たい to the verb stem like in カニを食べたい。

Then, what's the rule for saying "I don't want to". I've seen in this phrase 怖い映画は、見たくないよ , they added "たくない" to the verb stem, but is that always so, or how is it?

3 Answers 3


Yup, that's exactly right.

V-stem + たい "Want to V"

V-stem + たくない "(I) don't want to V"



Adding to @ishikun's answer, you need to note that たい is an (auxiliary) adjective which uses 'adjective stem (い removed from い adjective) + くない' to negate it.

I would say

They added "くない" to the adjective stem.

rather than

They added "たくない" to the verb stem.

You will find the linked question interesting. In what way is the negative form of a verb an adjective?


To add to the other answers, if you want to make a contrastive/emphatic statement, you can of course add a は or も before the ない.

  • 朝食を抜きたくないけど、今出かけないと電車に間に合わないよ。 → I don't want to skip breakfast, but if I don't leave now I'll miss the train.
  • 行きたく残りたくない → I don't want to stay or go.
  • ライブを見逃したくないけど、おばあさんの面倒を見ないとだめだから、行きようがない。 → It's not that I want to miss the concert, but I have to take care of my grandmother, so there's no way I can go.
  • In other words, it's important to realize that ない is still a separate word here.
    – user1478
    Aug 25, 2016 at 16:11
  • @snailplane It's pretty obvious if you use the polite form: 行きたくありません
    – oals
    Aug 26, 2016 at 6:50

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