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By "qualifiers," I mean something like this:

昨日見た映画

The movie that I saw yesterday

I understand that you cannot use たい-form to talk about what other people want. So, can we use たい-form in qualifiers? For example, can we say something like "The dog that wants to eat"?

食べたい犬

Or would that just end up translating as "The dog that I want to eat"?

Alternatively, could we use たがる to say that we think the dog wants to eat?

食べたがっている犬

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This grammatical structure is usually called a relative clause.

Both ~たい and ~たがる can modify a noun that follows, and they can optionally have a subject marked with が or の. For example you can say:

  • 私が食べたい料理 the dish I want to eat
  • 肉を食べたがっている犬 a dog who wants to eat meat
  • その犬が食べたがっている肉 the meat the dog wants to eat
  • 彼が見たい映画 the move he wants to watch

As you may know, there is an important difference between ~たい and ~たがる, which is described in detail here.

食べたい犬 without any context is an ambiguous and confusing expression, but can be easily taken as "the dog which I want to eat," because たい usually describes the speaker's own desire.

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