Let's take some rather trivial and also rather casual sentences such as:

(1) Want to meet up at X o'clock? (2) Let us meet up at X o'clock. (3) Want to grab (something to eat / dinner) later? / Want to get dinner later?

I tried to translate these sentences, however I'm not sure what the different verb forms that could be used would imply. Let's start with (1).

  • X ji ni aitai desu ka (= To express the "want" part?)
  • X ji ni aimashou ka (= More affirmative?)
  • X ji ni aimasu ka (= Is this allowed?)


  • X ji ni aimashou. (= The way I saw it online)
  • X ji ni aimasu. (= Is this allowed?)
  • X ji ni aitai desu. (= Expressing the want part, is this allowed?)


  • Atode (yuushoku o) tabetai desu ka (= I believe this is correct?)
  • Atode (yuushoku o) tabetai masu ka (= Why is this wrong)
  • Atode (yuushoku o) tabe(masu/desu) ka (= Is this very impolite?)

Which of the translation tries above are correct, which ones are wrong, why, and what do they each imply? I also still don't quite get the different between masu and desu, for now desu seemed to me as something similar to "to be", whereas "masu" was simply added to every verb, however the first translation try of (3) was a sentence I saw online, and it is using desu instead of masu so I'm not sure anymore.

What other different forms could there be to express these quite trivial sentences? How would they change in what contexts (Let's use the following contexts, for example: 1. Work (Asking a colleague or superior), 2. Family, 3. Friend, 4. Acquaintance, 5. Significant other, 6. Between 3 and 5). I do believe that English also has slight differences for all of these situations, although they might lie more in the "way" that the sentence was said rather than in the sentence itself.

Help greatly appreciated!

1 Answer 1


Unlike English "want" you don't use "-tai" (in interrogative) to express invitation.

Both aimashou-ka and aimasu-ka can function as invitation but the former is safer because the latter can mean a simple question. Simple aimasu doesn't work as invitation, it just means "I will meet".

tabe-tai-masu and tabe-desu are wrong conjugation.

  • Thanks for your answer. Could you maybe elaborate on why these two are simply wrong conjugations? I mean, sure, some things just need to be learnt by heart, but most of the time there is a logical explanation behind the reason of things. Nov 12, 2017 at 22:07

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