139 - I'd like it if you...

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:

口座開きたいんですけど…
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:

テレビ欲しいんですけど…
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...


😲 😲 😲

~て欲しい

🐲 🐲 🐲


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:

タバコやめて欲しい。
タバコ やめて ほしい。
I want you to quit smoking.
Literally: "tobacco + quit (in te-form) + wanting."

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 な to the end of it.

タバコやめて欲しいな。
タバコ やめて ほしい な。
I wish you'd quit smoking.
Literally: "tobacco + quit (in te-form) + wanting + な."

I've said this several times in other lessons, but な 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 な 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 te-form, and it's やめて. Consider this shorter version of that above sentence:

タバコやめて。
Quit smoking.
Literally: "tobacco + quit."

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:

タバコやめて欲しいな。
タバコ やめて ほしい な。
I wish you'd quit smoking.
Literally: "tobacco + quit (in te-form) + wanting + な."


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

Here are some more sentences...

お金返してほしい。
おかね かえして ほしい。
I want him to pay me back.
Literally: "money + return (something) + wanting."
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 mean "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:

お金返してほしいんだけど。
おかね かえして ほしい ん だ けど。
I'd like it if you could pay me back.
Literally: "money + return (something) + wanting + んだけど."

Like we saw both in the last lesson and in this article on my site, 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 would be something like, "So can you pay me back (now)?" which is just a bit too direct for most Japanese people. んだ, the "だ of explanation," shows that I'm saying this for a reason that you should (try to) understand, and けど shows that there is more that I'm not saying. Altogether, it's clear that I'm hoping you'll pay me back ASAP, though I'm not coming out and saying it.


浮気したこと謝ってほしい。
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 (te-form) + wanting."
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!

洗濯してほしいんだけど、いい?
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 (te-form) + wanting + んだけど, + good?"
Note: This a very nice way to ask you spouse to do the laundry for you.


Yesterday, 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?

Yes, we can! For example:

すみません、パソコン修理してほしいんですけど。
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 (te-form) + wanting + 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...

一生懸命勉強してほしいんだけど…
いっしょうけんめい べんきょう して ほしい んだけど…
I was hoping that you could study very hard!
Literally: "very hard + studying + do (te-form) + wanting + だけど."
Note: 一生懸命 actually means something like "with all of one's might" or "with utmost effort," but I didn't know how to include that in the translation without sounding dramatic.

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