Content Markers, Part III

In the last lesson, we looked at ways to (politely) express our wants.

Specifically, we had ~たいんですけど for things we want to do, like this:

こうざ ひらきたい んです けど…
I'd like to open an account.
Literally: "account + want to open + んです + けど…"

Then we saw ~欲しいんですけど for talking about items that we want, like this:

テレビ ほしい んです けど…
I'm looking for a TV.
Literally: "TV + wanting + んです + けど…"

But what if we want someone else to do something for us?

Well, then we would use...


✨ ✨ ✨


✨ ✨ ✨

For example, let's say that I have a friend who is a heavy smoker (come to Japan, and you'll make lots of friends like this). Maybe that friend is a hardcore-addicted chain smoker. Naturally, I become concerned about his/her health, and as such I want to say: "I want you to quit smoking."

In Japanese, that would be...


Any guesses?


Here are some hints:
タバコ = tobacco; cigarettes
やめる = to quit; to stop (doing)


Here is our full sentence:

タバコ やめて ほしい。
I want you to quit smoking.
Literally: "tobacco + quit (and) + wanted."

But that's pretty direct, and if I tell you that, you might think I should mind my business or that I sound a bit accusatory. Luckily, there is a really simple way to soften this phrase: Add to the end of it.

タバコ やめて ほしい な。
I wish you'd quit smoking.
Literally: "tobacco + quit (and) + wanted + な."

I've said this several times in other lessons, but is (in many cases) like an "inward ね." The nuance is that I'm saying the preceding sentence to myself. Since I'm saying it right in front of the listener, though, it's sort of halfway between talking to myself and talking to the listener (whereas saying ね would be full-on talking to the listener).

As such, the nuance of this sentence with is that I personally would like it if you didn't smoke, and maybe that I'm a little worried about your health, too.

Anyways, back to the grammar topic: ~て欲しい

やめる is "to quit."

Put that in て-form, and it's やめて. Consider this shorter version of that above sentence:

Quit smoking.
Literally: "tobacco + quit (and)."

That's a lot more direct than the previous sentence, right? To make it softer, all we did was add 欲しい(な) onto the end of it:

タバコ やめて ほしい な。
I wish you'd quit smoking.
Literally: "tobacco + quit (and) + wanted + な."


I wish you'd... do a million different things.

Here are some more sentences...

おかね かえして ほしい。
I want him to pay me back.
Literally: "money + return (something) (and) + wanted."
Note: Using kanji for 欲しい (ほしい) is optional in ~てほしい sentences.

Wait a second. Does this sentence mean, "I want him to pay me back?" I thought it meant "I want you to pay me back!"

Well, it could mean either one. Since this sounds somewhat direct, though, I thought it would be more natural to translate as "I want him to pay me back." Really, though, it all depends on context.

So what if I want to say "I want you to pay me back?"

In that case, we would use the grammar tactics we picked up in the previous lesson. We saw that when going into a shop, we can add ~んですけど to our sentences, right?

Well, we can do the same thing here. Only, since we're talking to a friend, we should say ~んけど instead of ~んですけど, like this:

おかね かえして ほしい んだ けど。
I want you to pay me back. // I want the money you owe me.
Literally: "money + return (something) (and) + wanted + んだ + けど."

Like we saw in the last lesson, in this case けど does NOT mean "but." Rather, it is working as a "content marker." In other words, it is hinting that there is more to come after this sentence—there is an unspoken sentence that comes after it.

In this case, that unspoken sentence could be something like, "So, pay me back already" or "So, when are you gonna pay me back?"... which are just a bit too direct for most Japanese people (depending on the situation).

んだ, the "だ of explanation," shows that I'm saying this for a reason that you should understand, and けど shows that there is more that I'm not saying. Altogether, I (the speaker) am sending you (the listener) a very clear message: Give me my money back! I'm not coming out and saying it as directly as that, though. I suppose it's a bit like if I said, "I'm still waiting for you to pay me back" in English.

All of that said, it would be possible to quite bluntly just say:

おかね かえして よ。
Give me my money back. // Pay me back the money you owe me.
Literally: "money + return (something) (and) + よ."

...but I would be careful about who you talk to in such a harsh way.


うわき した こと あやまって ほしい。
I want you to apologize for cheating on me. // I want him/her to apologize for cheating on me.
Literally: "fooling around / cheating + did + thing + apologize (and) + wanted."
Note: I don't think we need a な here, as it's OK to be direct with someone who's been cheating on you!

せんたく して ほしい んだ けど、 いい?
I was hoping that you'd do the laundry, is that OK?
Literally: "laundry + do (and) + wanted + んだ + けど, + good?"
Note: This is a nice way to ask your spouse to do the laundry for you.


In the previous lesson, we were talking about using ~欲しいんですけど to explain to shop employees that we want things.

But can we use ~て欲しいんですけど, too?

Yes, we can! For example:

すみません、 パソコン しゅうり して ほしい んです けど。
Excuse me, I was hoping that you could fix my computer.
Literally: "excuse me, + PC + repairing + do (and) + wanted + んです + けど."

Let's both hope that your computer doesn't break in Japan.

Just in case, though, you might want to memorize this sentence.


Last but not least...

いっしょうけんめい べんきょう して ほしい んだ けど…
I'd like you to study as hard as you can.
Literally: "with all (your) might + studying + do (and) + wanted + んだ + けど..."

Congrats, friend. You've now made it through all three of our content-marker lessons. ^_^

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