So が , the subject particle, can be used to denote objects, but still carries the nuance of the subject.

For example...

Verbal nominal adjectives

カレーが好き(I like curry) : (curry is likable[for me])

Potential verbs

この宿題が出来る (I can do this homework) : (homework is doable [by me])

Resultant state

鉛筆が出してある (I bring out pencil) : (Pencil has been placed[ready to use])

But also can be used for desire?

君の名前が知りたい (I want to know your name) : (your name is the one I want to know)???

Why not を is used? I'm surprised to see が being used here.

1 Answer 1


Your stumbling block is there's no English expression that really works for 君の名前が知りたい ("Your name is want-to-learnable [for me]" would be a crude version of it). But it's not that different to the other examples you mention.

~たい conjugates the same way as an i-adjective and basically is one. In the same way that 私は熊が怖い means 'I am scared of bears' (or 'bears are scary for me') or カレーが好きだ means 'I like curry' (or 'curry is likeable for me'), 君の名前が知りたい means 'I am wanting to know your name' or 'your name is the thing I want to know').

So why use が instead of を? In all of your examples the が moves emphasis away from the topic and makes it more of a passive thing. You are not responsible for your own desires, you don't "do" them, they just happen by themselves. So が is the natural choice of particle.

That said, recently Japanese people also use を with たい in sentences like ラーメンを食べたい or 〇〇を知りたい. There is some debate about when this is natural and when it isn't, but it's more common for younger speakers to use it, and emphasises the act of desire more than the thing being desired.

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