How frequently do you case that you require something as soon as it’s just something that you want?

Don’t worry, you’re not the just one.

You are watching: What do you want in chinese

People confuse your wants v their demands all the time. While people really only require food, water, shelter and also air to live, we often tend to speak in hyperboles. We simply love to exaggerate.

We’ll say, “I require a cup the coffee,” “We have to talk” or “I require space,” once the fact is the we simply want those things and also so much more. 

If there’s miscellaneous we deserve to take away from this, it’s the fact that us talk around our desires more than we can realize. Therefore, it simply makes sense to learn exactly how you’d express your desires in the language the you’re studying.

Although it’s usual practice for native and fluent English speaker to interchange “want” and “need” when interacting desires, there’s a clearer difference in Chinese.

The point is, learners periodically trip increase on the reality that particular situations call for specific terms, and also that 要 (yào) meaning “to want” isn’t constantly the proper word the choice.

So before we get into do “I want” explanation in Mandarin, let’s walk over the reasons why you can’t always fall ago on 要 once vocalizing her wants and needs. Download: This blog write-up is available as a convenient and also portable PDF the you deserve to take anywhere. Click below to obtain a copy. (Download)


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Why girlfriend Can’t always Use 要 (yào)

要 is one of the simple Chinese verb you discover in the at an early stage stages. Together you relocate onto simple Chinese grammar, you likewise learn that it deserve to be supplied to answer correct or no questions around desires—saying 要 as soon as you want something and 不要 (bù yào) once you don’t.

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

Varying degrees of wanting

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

So as soon as you want a soda, you can say either one of the adhering to 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 particular circumstances

Wants or desires can be divided into the material and abstract, and also in Mandarin, there are specific sets that verbs because that each. However, it’s not just the tangibility or intangibility the the desire the determines i m sorry verb is appropriate.

While 要 is applicable in number of contexts, synonyms favor 想要 and 想 (xiǎng) are more fitting in various other instances.

For thing desires, 要 or 想要 deserve to be used, as you have the right to see in the previous examples. Meanwhile, 想 is mainly used when mentioning plans, as displayed below.

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

Immediate desire vs. Future desire

The Chinese verb for “want” is additionally contingent upon its urgency. Is it something that implies immediate action, or are you talking around your goals?

If you’re notified food, shopping or availing some type of service, 要 is most most likely the best verb come use since you intend a quick return. Like as soon as 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 around future goals, 想 is the word to apply. To say, “I want to go to Sweden following year,” the translation would certainly be 我想明年去瑞典 (wǒ xiǎng míngnián qù ruìdiǎn).

Get What You want in Chinese

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

When it pertains to physical or product desires, the two verbs you can choose between are 要 and 想要. Here’s just how to distinguish between the two.

Use 要 to be direct or as soon as you want something immediately

Every time you’re shopping, notified food or just stating an object desire in conversation, that’s when you’d use 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 desire a (cup of) latte.

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

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

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

Use 想要 to be an ext polite

If you want to be much more polite once expressing your wants, you might use 想要. This is the identical of saying, “I’d like” fairly than, “I want.”

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

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

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

It’s perfect acceptable to leaving 想 the end of the equation, yet if that eases her 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. Because that this category, you’d usage either 想 or 要.

Use 想 to talk about future plans

Has the object of hopes and also dreams come up in conversation? whether you’re talking about goals because that the future or plans because that the evening, 想 is the best word to use. In the context of desires, 想 have the right to mean “I want” or “I’d like.”

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

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

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

These explanation can additionally 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 as soon as you need prompt action

If you desire something to happen right away, 要 uses a feeling of immediacy.

我现在要买(wǒ xiànzài yāomǎi.) — I desire to buy it now.

You’d likewise use it when you’re speaking to a taxi driver.

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

Like 想, 要 can likewise be provided to talk about plans in the prompt future, as suggested in the video below. In this case, it can be analyzed as “going to” rather than “want.”

This dialogue is a an excellent way to view the use of 要 in real life. It begins with the concern 你明天要干什么? (nǐ míngtiān yào gànshénme?), which converts to, “What are you going to perform tomorrow?”

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To answer her question, the 2nd person replies with a 我要… (wǒ yào…) statement to indicate, “I to be going to.” girlfriend may likewise check the end this clip ~ above yellowcomic.com for a finish transcription the the conversation through interactive captions.


yellowcomic.com bring away real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language discovering lessons.


It supplies a unique perspective top top language discovering relevant to daily life come ensure the learners develop deeper relations to grammar points, such as the proper usage the 要.

Expressing need in Chinese

Talking around your requirements is much less complicated than discussing your wants in Chinese due to the fact that the words for “to need” aren’t as conditional together the verb above.

Different means of expressing a need

Whether you require a product object or call for some kind of action, this are some of the verb you can use to explain such sentiments.

(xū) — come need, to require

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

必须 (bì xū) — to have to, must

(děi) — to have to, come ought to, to require to, must

Here are a pair of sentence to offer you an idea of just how to use these verbs:

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

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

If the matter is pressing, one more word you can use is 急需 (jíxū), definition “to urgently need.” for this reason 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 indigenous for need can additionally be negated through 不.

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In instance you’d like to broaden your vocab and also learn every the various methods of saying, “I don’t need” in Chinese, check out this list:

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

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

不着 (bùzháo) — to not need; no need

不用 (bùyòng) — to no need; no need

(béng) — a convulsion of 不用

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

没有必要 (méiyǒu bìyào) — there’s no should (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 not need; not necessary

While there room a many vocabulary terms to define needs and wants, you only really need a few to obtain your suggest across. It’s just an excellent to recognize the specificity the the terms. After all, it’s the deeper understanding of linguistic concepts that’ll improve your as whole fluency in Mandarin. Download: This blog short article is easily accessible as a convenient and portable PDF the you can take anywhere. Click right here to get a copy. (Download)


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