I'm wondering if there is a specific construction, or certain constructions, to express the hope, wish, or desire that other people do/be/have etc something; i.e. the subjunctive (even though I haven't seen it referred to as that in Japanese grammar).

I'm familiar with 「たがる」for talking about other people's wants from the speaker's perspective, but as yet I've not encountered anything regarding what the speaker wants for others to do/be/have; etc, either selfishly (see example #1, below) or altruistically (examples #2 and #3). I'm guessing there are various ways to express it, depending on various factors such as degree of hypothesis, level of politeness or informality; selfish vs altruistic desire; etc.

For example:

  1. "I hope that this novelist continues to write books forever."
  2. "I'd love for my sister and her boyfriend to get married soon."
  3. "I think it would be fantastic if the lobbyists got what they wanted."

My (woefully inept) attempts would be:

  1. この小説家{しょうせつか}がずっと本{ほん}を書{か}けばいいんですよ。
  2. 私は姉{あね}と彼{かれ}がすぐに結婚{けっこん}するのが大好{だいす}きです。
  3. ロビイストが望{のぞ}むものを手{て}に入{い}れば、それは素晴{すば}らしいことと思{おも}います。

Much appreciated!


The simplest expression is person + に(は) + te-form + ほしい, which roughly corresponds to "I want someone to do something". When politeness or keigo is not important, this is the default choice.

  • この小説家にはずっと本を書いていてほしい。
  • 姉に彼氏と早く結婚してほしい。
  • あのロビイストには望むものを手に入れてほしい。

As usual, person + に(は) can be dropped if it can be inferred from the context:

  • 早く結婚してほしい。 (compare: 早く結婚したい。 = "I want to marry soon")

Politer ways are ~てくれると嬉しい (≒I'd be glad if ...), ~てくれたら嬉しい, ~ていただけると助かります, ~れば素晴らしい, etc., some of which can be used to ask someone a favor.

  • この小説家がずっと本を書いていてくれると嬉しい。

Note that ~が(大)好きだ does not work as you expect. It's an adjective that describes someone's general taste or preference, not a one-time intention or hope.

  • (naruto, I'm still unable to tag people, and as there appears to be no PM system I'll just have to hope you read this) Many thanks! Another question, if it's not too much trouble? kandyman mentioned the plain form + ~といい construction; is that ever used in this context at all? I know what ~といい means, and have encountered numerous instances of it, but I don't recall precisely as to what. – oh no the klaxons Dec 5 '17 at 14:55
  • 1
    @ohnotheklaxons ~ばいい sounds to me like an advice rather than the speaker's own desire. – naruto Dec 5 '17 at 15:22

~といい works well for what you are describing.

It literally means "it would be good if ..." so in that sense you are expressing a hope or wish that a certain circumstance comes to pass. That can relate to other people or even yourself, and so can be used to express the meanings in your examples.

Use the plain form with といい.

For example, (あなたが)試験に合格するといい。 I hope that you pass the test.

I'll leave it to the native speakers to translate your examples best. But I might as well attempt it. I welcome corrections but it might be something like this:


  • (kandyman, I'm unable to tag people, and as there appears to be no PM system I'll just have to hope you read this.) Whether you're correct or not, many thanks for your reply. The ~といい construction is one I've encountered numerous instances of, but I don't recall as to precisely what. As a gaijin, and knowing far less about this than you do, I can say that at least to me it sounds perfectly natural. – oh no the klaxons Dec 5 '17 at 15:03
  • @ohnotheklaxons glad to help! – kandyman Dec 5 '17 at 17:46
  • 1
    ~~するといい。はちょっと…。 --> 「ずっと作品を書いてくれればいいなあ/くれたら(いい)なあ/くれるといいなあ 。」「結婚したらいい(のに)なあ。/すればいいなあ 。」「思いどおりにいけばいいなあ。/いくといいなあ 。」というふうに、「~ればいいなあ」・「~たらいいなあ」・「~たらなあ」・「~するといいなあ」・「~ればいいのになあ」「~るといいんだけどなあ」(←「のに」「んだけど」をつけると実現の可能性が低い感じ)などを使った方が自然だと思います – Chocolate Dec 6 '17 at 1:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.