How regularly do you insurance claim that you need something as soon as it’s merely something that you want?

Don’t worry, you’re no the only one.

You are watching: I want in chinese

People confuse their wants v their needs all the time. While human beings really only require food, water, shelter and air come live, we often tend to speak in hyperboles. We simply love come exaggerate.

We’ll say, “I need a cup the coffee,” “We must talk” or “I need space,” as soon as the truth is that we simply want those things and so much more. 

If there’s miscellaneous we have the right to take far from this, it’s the fact that us talk about our desires an ext than we can realize. Therefore, it just makes feeling to learn exactly how you’d refer your desires in the language that you’re studying.

Although it’s common practice because that native and fluent English speaker to interchange “want” and also “need” when connecting desires, there’s a clearer difference in Chinese.

The point is, learners periodically trip up on the truth that certain situations call for details terms, and that 要 (yào) an interpretation “to want” isn’t constantly the proper word of choice.

So prior to we gain into make “I want” explanation in Mandarin, let’s go over the reasons why girlfriend can’t constantly fall back on 要 once vocalizing her wants and needs. Download: This blog short article is obtainable as a convenient and also portable PDF the you have the right to take anywhere. Click right here to obtain a copy. (Download)


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Why girlfriend Can’t constantly Use 要 (yào)

要 is just one of the easy Chinese verbs you learn in the at an early stage stages. Together you move onto simple Chinese grammar, you likewise learn that it can be offered to answer correct or no questions about desires—saying 要 when you want something and also 不要 (bù yào) once you don’t.

Expressing desire and disinterest isn’t as straightforward together stating 要 or 不要, but it’s additionally not as complicated as you might imagine it come be.

Varying degrees of wanting

In English, you deserve to say points like, “I type of desire to go the end dancing,” or “I’m dying because that a soda.” It’s sort of similar in Mandarin, where you’d use 要 to be much more direct and 想要 (xiǎng yào) come come off more politely.

So as soon as you want a soda, you might say either one of the complying with statements:

我要可乐(wǒ yào kělè.) — I desire a cola.

我想要可乐(wǒ xiǎng yào kělè.) — I’d prefer a cola.


Specific vocabulary for details circumstances

Wants or desires have the right to be split into the material and also abstract, and also in Mandarin, there are certain sets of verbs because that each. However, it’s not just the tangibility or intangibility of the desire the determines i beg your pardon verb is appropriate.

While 要 is applicable in numerous contexts, synonyms choose 想要 and 想 (xiǎng) are much more fitting in various other instances.

For thing desires, 要 or 想要 can be used, together you have the right to see in the previous examples. Meanwhile, 想 is mostly used when stating plans, as displayed below.

你想吃火锅吗(nǐ xiǎng chī huǒguō ma?) — execute you want to eat hotpot?

Immediate want vs. Future desire

The Chinese verb for “want” is also contingent ~ above its urgency. Is it something that implies instant action, or are you talking about your goals?

If you’re notified food, to buy or availing some kind of service, 要 is most most likely the best verb come use because you intend a fast return. Like once you’re at the spa, you can say 我要足部按摩 (wǒ yào zú bù ànmó) if you want a foot massage.

If you’re talking about future goals, 想 is the word to apply. To say, “I desire to go to Sweden next year,” the translation would be 我想明年去瑞典 (wǒ xiǎng míngnián qù ruìdiǎn).

Get What You desire in Chinese

Tangible Desires: 要 (yào) vs. 想要 (xiǎng yào)

When it involves physical or product desires, the 2 verbs you deserve to choose in between are 要 and 想要. Here’s exactly how to distinguish between the two.

Use 要 come be direct or when you want something immediately

Every time you’re shopping, ordering food or simply stating things desire in conversation, that’s once you’d usage 要.

Here are a few examples:

他要一瓶啤酒(tā yào yī píng píjiǔ.) — He wants a (bottle of) beer.

我要一杯拿铁(wǒ yào yībēi ná tiě.) — I want a (cup of) latte.

她要蓝色的裙子(tā yào lán sè de qúnzi.) — She desires the blue dress.

Although “I want” statements can seem fairly demanding, it’s no actually taken into consideration rude in China.

To negate the above statements, add 不 (bù) definition “no.” Thus, “I don’t want…” in Chinese would certainly be 我不要… (wǒbù yào…).

Use 想要 come be much more polite

If you desire to be more polite once expressing her wants, you may use 想要. This is the indistinguishable of saying, “I’d like” rather than, “I want.”

他想要一瓶啤酒(tā xiǎng yào yī píng píjiǔ.) — He’d favor a (bottle of) beer.

我想要一杯拿铁(wǒ xiǎng yào yībēi ná tiě.) — I’d favor a (cup of) latte.

她想要蓝色的裙子。(tā xiǎng yào lán sè de qúnzi.) — She’d choose the blue dress.

It’s perfectly acceptable to leaving 想 the end of the equation, but if it eases your mind to use the polite version, go for it, by all means.

Intangible Desires: 想 (xiǎng) vs. 要 (yào)

Now let’s move on to abstract wants or wanted actions. For this category, you’d use either 想 or 要.

Use 想 to comment on future plans

Has the topic of hopes and also dreams come increase in conversation? even if it is you’re talking around goals because that the future or plans for the evening, 想 is the appropriate word to use. In the paper definition of desires, 想 can mean “I want” or “I’d like.”

我想去马尔代夫(wǒ xiǎng qù mǎ’ěrdàifū.) — I want to go to the Maldives.

妈妈想吃四川菜(māma xiǎng chī sìchuān cài.) — mother would choose to eat Sichuan food.

他想在新西兰工作(tā xiǎng zài xīnxīlán gōngzuò.) — He wants to work in new Zealand.

These explanation can likewise be negated v 不 (meaning “no”). So, “Mom doesn’t desire to eat Sichuan food” in Chinese would be 妈妈不想吃四川菜 (māma bùxiǎng chī sìchuān cài).

Use 要 when you need immediate action

If you want something to happen right away, 要 offers a sense of immediacy.

我现在要买(wǒ xiànzài yāomǎi.) — I want to buy that now.

You’d also use it when you’re speak to a taxi driver.

我们要去火车站(wǒmen yào qù huǒchē zhàn.) — We want to walk to the train station.

Like 想, 要 can also be provided to talk around plans in the immediate future, as suggested in the video clip below. In this case, it have the right to be translated as “going to” quite than “want.”

This conversation is a an excellent way to watch the usage of 要 in actual life. It starts with the inquiry 你明天要干什么? (nǐ míngtiān yào gànshénme?), which converts to, “What are you walk to perform tomorrow?”

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To answer she question, the 2nd person replies with a 我要… (wǒ yào…) statement come indicate, “I to be going to.” girlfriend may likewise check out this clip top top neurosoup.org because that a complete transcription the the conversation v interactive captions.


neurosoup.org take away real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.


It provides a distinct perspective on language finding out relevant to daily life to ensure that learners build deeper relationships to grammar points, such as the suitable usage of 要.

Expressing requirement in Chinese

Talking around your needs is much easier than stating your desires in Chinese due to the fact that the words because that “to need” aren’t as conditional as the verbs above.

Different ways of to express a need

Whether you need a product object or need some sort of action, these are few of the verbs you have the right to use to define such sentiments.

(xū) — to need, to require

需要 (xūyào) — to demand, to need, come require

必须 (bì xū) — to have to, must

(děi) — to have to, to ought to, to need to, must

Here are a pair of sentences to give you one idea of just how to usage these verbs:

我需要喂猫(wǒ xūyào wèi māo.) — I should feed the cat.

你得去医院(nǐ dé qù yīyuàn) — You need to go to the hospital.

If the issue is pressing, another word you have the right to use is 急需 (jíxū), definition “to urgently need.” therefore if you want to say, “I urgently need cash,” in Chinese it’d be, 我急需现金 (wǒ jíxū xiànjīn).

When there’s no necessity

Like through 要 and also 想, the words for need can likewise be negated v 不.

See more: ▷ Formal Agreement To Stop Fighting — Puzzles Crossword Clue

In case you’d choose to expand your vocab and also learn all the various ways of saying, “I don’t need” in Chinese, examine out this list:

不必 (bùbì) — no need, don’t have actually to

不消 (bùxiāo) — to not need; needless come say

不着 (bùzháo) — to not need; no need

不用 (bùyòng) — to not need; no need

(béng) — a contraction of 不用

用不着 (yòng bùzháo) — to no need, to have actually no use for

没有必要 (méiyǒu bìyào) — there’s no have to (do something)

何必 (hébì) — why should; there’s no need

何须 (héxū) — why should; there’s no need

大可不必 (dà kě bùbì) — to no need; not necessary

While there room a many vocabulary terms to define needs and wants, you only really need a couple of to obtain your allude across. It’s just good to know the specificity that the terms. After ~ all, it’s the deeper expertise of linguistic principles that’ll improve your as whole fluency in Mandarin. Download: This blog post is accessible as a convenient and also portable PDF that you deserve to take anywhere. Click below to gain a copy. (Download)


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