I can't seem to wrap my head around the form verb-て+いたい

Is it a conjugation of verb-て+いる, or is it its own form?

And how is it different from verb-たい ? It seems to be translated the same.

Some examples:

食べていたい vs 食べたい 
愛を信じていたい vs 愛を信じたい 
壊さないでいたい vs 壊したくない 
はなれないでいたい vs はなれたくない 
勉強していたい vs 勉強したい

1 Answer 1


~ていたい is the combination of ~ている and ~たい ("want to ~"). ~ている describes the continuation of an action ("is doing") and the continuation of a state ("has done").

So 見たい is "want to watch", whereas 見ていたい is "want to be watching." Typically ~ていたい is used when you have already started something and want to continue what you are doing.

  • テレビを見たい。
    I want to watch TV.
  • もっとテレビを見ていたい。
    I want to keep watching TV. / I want to watch TV more.

The difference between 壊さないでいたい and 壊したくない is somewhat obscure, but the former basically says you want to keep the current "not-broken" status.

Sometimes ~ていたい can also describe the continuation of state until some time point in the future. Using a typical instant state-change verb 結婚する ("to get married"):

  • 5年後に結婚していたい。
    I want to be married within five years. (literally "I want to have gotten married in five years" i.e., I want to be in the 'married' state in five years)
  • 5年後に結婚したい。
    I want to marry after 5 years from now. (i.e., I don't want to marry for the time being)

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