From the novel The Old Man and the Sea.

Japanese translation on Aozora:


''Should we eat?'' ''I've been asking you to,'' the boy told him gently. ''I have not wished to open the container until you were ready.''

Is かった an aux verb or just part of the 開ける conjugation that I'm not familiar with?

Thanks a lot in advance :)


You're on the right track, but lets break it down a little bit more.

開ける: to open

開けたい: want to open

開けたかった: wanted to open

んだ/(のです): "It is that~", "the case", "the situation" or "the fact" see: What is the meaning of ~んです/~のだ/etc?

So you're looking at a conjugation of the 〜たい grammar (want to verb). In this case 〜たい acts like an い-type adjective. That means that you can conjugate it to have past and negative tenses.

Now we've got that out of the way lets do a translation:


"Its just that I wanted to open the lid after Santiago has finished his preparations"

It's implied that the speaker has a container of food, if that helps the sentence make more sense.

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