An example sentence from NHK Easy (source)


Reading NHK Easy, I frequently see sentences ending in 〜と考えています when it's clear that it's not meant to say "Somebody is thinking about ~". I figure this is a form of hedging, like how you're not supposed to say "たけしさんはケーキがほしいです" but instead "たけしさんはケーキをほしがっています".

If my assumption is correct, what is the significance of using 考える for this purpose? How is it different from using がる or と言う or some other way of reporting?

2 Answers 2


From an English perspective, ~たいと考えています may seem redundant, but this is perfectly natural in Japanese. ~たいです or ~欲しいです are actually unrefined sentence endings, and they are usually avoided in proper news articles and such. Instead of です, people very commonly add と思っています, と言っています or と考えています after たい/欲しい.

For example, something like 私は車が欲しいです is polite and natural enough in conversations and not-so-formal business exchanges, but in very formal writings, you should say 私は車が欲しいと思っています or 私は車が欲しいと考えております, etc. Likewise, you will almost never hear a sentence like 政府は登録をしてもらいたいです in news broadcast.

When you translate this into English, you can just use "want".

The government wants everyone living in Japan to create a My Number card and register for the health insurance function.

(Just to be sure, the subject of 考えています is 政府 at the beginning of the sentence, and the 政府 can safely "say" or "think" something just as White House can.)

  • Thank you for your response. My question was about the difference in meaning between quoting someone with と考えている and quoting someone with と言う or similar. The former sounds indecisive to my English ears, but the examples I see suggest that is not the case.
    – frog
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 17:41
  • 1
    @frog The same as the difference between "they want..." and "they say they want...". As I said in the answer, there is no deep meaning in this 考えている.
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 0:38

As to why it doesn't say -たいと言っています nor -たがっています, 言っています sounds more like quoting so you wouldn't want to use it when you are summarizing, paraphrasing or adding your own analysis. (This distinction is kind of blurry, though.) たがっています sounds more like you are personifying the government with emotion and preferences, so it's less appropriate in neutral reporting. 考えています is also personifying but to a lesser extent, I think.

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