What is the difference between those two ways of saying "to want"?

  • shitaindesuga
  • hoshiindesuga

4 Answers 4


The 〜たい -tai form attaches to the masu-stem of a verb to form "to want to [verb]", e.g. 食べたい tabetai "to want to eat". The form したい shitai is only the special case of 〜たい attached to する "to do". Even though it attaches to a verb, the result is an i-adjective (unlike in English).

(が)ほしい comes after a noun and means "to want [to have/own] a/the [noun]". Like practically all words ending in しい, it is an i-adjective as well.

(~て)ほしい may also come after the te-form of a verb and means "to want so. to do [verb] [for me]", for example 食べてほしい "I want so. to eat [this]".

In general, these constructions are different, but in case the verb is a "suru-verb" (i.e. of the form [noun]+suru) they may appear similar. However, they usually do mean something different:

denwa (wo) shitai
I want to make a call / I want to call [so.]

denwa ga hoshii
I want [to own/to have] a phone

denwa (wo) shite hoshii
I want you to make a call / I want you to call [so.]

In particular,

shitai n desu ga
I would like to do [sth.]

hoshii n desu ga
I would like to have [sth.]

shite hoshii n desu ga
I would like you to do [sth.]

Note that both 〜たい and 〜ほしい express your own desire/wish. According to the unwritten rule that you cannot know the details of a third person's mental state, you should use 〜たがる and 〜ほしがる instead if you want to talk about the desires/wishes of other people. For more on this see the following questions:

  • Including 〜たがる and explaining the difference with 〜たい would make this answer invaluable.
    – user1602
    Mar 6, 2020 at 1:26
  • 1
    @user1602 Thank you, that is a good point. This has been explained in detail in other answers already, so I added a brief note and the relevant links.
    – Earthliŋ
    Mar 6, 2020 at 9:16

You must mean shitai(ndesu)

The difference between hoshii ほしい shitai したい is that one is for when you want to do something, and the other is for wanting an object

ほしい hoshi (1)

hoshii is an adjective. It is commonly used with the subject particle ga が to say that you want something. For example

りんごがほしい (ringo ga hoshii) I want an/the apple

It can only be used with nouns, as it is an adjective describing the noun as 'desirable'.

(し)たい (shi)tai

The -tai ending is attached to the stem of a verb (the part before 'masu'), and it expresses that you want to do whatever it is that the verb refers to. For example

サッカーをしたい (sakkaa wo shitai) I want to play soccer

Here, shitai means 'want to play'. The -tai ending can be attached to any verb.

りんごをたべたい (ringo wo tabetai) I want to eat an/the apple

A somewhat similar meaning to the hoshii sentence, except that hoshii does not imply what you would do with the apple. Tabetai clearly expresses a desired action.

ほしい hoshi (2)

Hoshii can also be used, when you wish to express that you want someone else to do something

It is attached to the -te form of the verb. For example

りんごをたべてほしい (ringo wo tabete hoshii) I want you to eat the apple

The '-ndesuga' ending is a separate issue, but essentially it makes what you are saying a little bit less direct. As a basic sentence, you don't need it.


I think Ishitaindesuga is wrong. I would write:

Shitaindesu(ga) (したいんです (が) )

Are you asking "difference between したい and 欲しい" ? If so, the difference is clear:

  • したい means want to do
  • 欲しい means want to have
  • I'm not sure if that is quite a good way to explain it. How would you explain して欲しい? Dec 9, 2016 at 9:28
  • Hmmm... して欲しい means "want you to do" ?
    – ra1ned
    Dec 9, 2016 at 9:55
  • yes, that is correct. Dec 9, 2016 at 12:53

欲しい and たい are adjective, and DOES NOT mean “I want”.

They mean “is desirable”

The apple is desirable.

Same concept applies to たい.

Please people stop making people thinking that 欲しい means “I WANT”. It doesn't mean that. The subject is the the desired thing, and the adjective means that it procures desire to you.

The book procure to me the desire to read it

Japanese is not ego-centric like English.

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