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Alright, so when asking if someone wants something do you always use ほしがっています? Specifically, I'm thinking when you're trying to communicate with someone that cannot communicate back what they want. (Example: Does my dog want a bone?) or (Does baby want a bottle?) Could you say 私のいぬがほねをほしがっていますか。??Or 赤ちゃんはほんゆうびんをほしがっていますか。I know expressing desires is kind of tricky.

  • Who are you talking to in this context? If you’re talking directly to your dog or baby, you can’t use 〜がる because it’s used when you’re referring to a third person. See this answer. – user27918 Mar 27 '18 at 0:23
  • I think in this context I'd be asking 'about' the dog, or 'about' the baby, not directly to them; so, instead I'd be asking the father about our baby, or our dog. What would you use if talking directly to them? – Yasha2021 Mar 27 '18 at 11:58
  • I am not a native speaker, but just as in English, I would use very simple language, like 骨がほしい? – user27918 Mar 27 '18 at 15:30
  • @JAM It's not really that "you can't use がる" but that it means a different thing, i.e "Sensei, are you asking for veges?" (with contemptuous nuance). – user4092 Mar 27 '18 at 23:48
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Not always.

ほしがっていますか? works when you ask if it's simply the case or not (edit: in this case, it means "is he asking for?", not directly "does he want?") except some cases where essential difference between "want" and "ほしがる" does harm.

On the other hand, when you have judged that someone should want something from the situation and try to confirm it, you say ほしいのですか? with のだ form.

Edit: I'm going to explain about "difference between "want" and "ほしがる".

Since ほしがる basically means "to show one's desire", it produces these differences.

  • 水がほしい人いますか? : Anybody wants some water?
  • 水を欲しがってる人いますか? : Did you find anyone want some water? (or "Among you, is there anyone itching to have some water? (Then, I'll punish you)")

So, ~がる doesn't really work as it would be from learner's viewpoint in these examples.

  • (その人は)欲しがったから買ったのだ: He bought it because he asked for / because someone else wanted
  • この子は将来医者になりたがってます: He is itching to become a doctor in future
  • Thank you, that's very helpful! I get so confused with the verbs! – Yasha2021 Mar 27 '18 at 23:33

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