What Is It That She Wants?: Expressing Desires with I-Adjectives and the -Garu Form in Japanese:Today, however, we’re going to learn how to talk about other people and their wants and desires. In order to do this, we must turn i-adjectives into verbs by adding –garu to the end. Here we go!

TOP 15 BASIC Japanese i-adjectives You must know first in Japanese | Japanese language lesson
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I-Adjectives Review

Before we begin, let’s review what an i-adjective is. There are two types of adjectives in Japanese: those that end in the hiragana い (i) and those that end in な (na). Today we are focusing on i-adjectives only. Let’s take a look at some examples of iadjectives.

欲しいhoshiiwant (in adjective form)

Example sentences:

Ano chuurippu wa akai.
That tulip is red.
Watashi wa atarashii kuruma ga hoshii.
I want a new car. (Note: Hoshii is an adjective in the Japanese sentence)

Turning I-Adjectives into Verbs

Now that we’ve reviewed a few i-adjectives, let’s turn them into verbs! Turning an iadjective into a verb is easy: just remove the い (i) and replace it with がる (garu)!  

➝ 赤がるakai akagarured ➝ to be red
小さ ➝ 小さがるchiisai chiisagarusmall ➝ to be small
➝ 怖がるkowai kowagaruscary ➝ to be scary
欲し ➝ 欲しがるhoshii hoshigaruwant (as an adjective) ➝ want (as a verb)
恥ずかし ➝ 恥ずかしがるhazukashii hazukashigarushy ➝ to be shy

Now that we’ve learned how to turn i-adjectives into verbs, let’s make a few sentences. 

Before that, however, it’s important to note that in most cases, the -garu form is used when talking about people in the third person (in other words, people other than yourself). This is because we don’t know how other people truly feel and can only make a guess via available evidence (e.g. the look on their face, hearing something they had said before, knowing their character, etc.) Therefore, we use the -garu form to express the nuance that another person “seems to be” or “looks like” they are feeling a certain way. 

In the examples below, the particle を (wo) is used to mark the direct object (i.e. the thing that they are scared of, want, or are shy of). 

Also note that the present progressive form っている (-tte iru) is used to express a current state that may not extend into the future (as in the last two examples). 

Example sentences:

Erikku wa horaa eiga wo kowagaru.
(It seems to me that) Eric is scared of horror movies.
Kanojo wa atarashii kuruma wo hoshigatte iru.
(It seems to me that) She (currently) wants a new car.
Kodomo wa shiranai hito wo hazukashigatte iru.
(It seems to me that) My child (at this current age) is shy around strangers.

Expressing Our Wants and Desires by Using the たい (-Tai) Form

Now that we know how to turn i-adjectives into verbs, let’s do the opposite! Let’s turn verbs into i-adjectives by using the たい (-tai) form! This is done in order to express a want or desire to do something. 

There are two steps involved when conjugating a verb into the -tai form. The first step is to change it into the formal -masu form. Let’s look at a few examples.

食べる ➝ 食べます taberu tabemasuto eat ➝ to eat (formal)
行く ➝ 行きますiku ikimasuto go ➝ to go (formal)
会う ➝ 会いますau aimasuto meet ➝ to meet (formal)

Next, we remove the -masu part and replace it with -tai.

食べます ➝ 食べたい tabemasu tabetaito eat (formal) ➝ want to eat
行きます ➝ 行きたいikimasu ikitaito go (formal) ➝ want to go
会います ➝ 会いたいaimasu aitaito meet (formal) ➝ want to meet

Let’s look at a few examples of expressing our own wants and desires. In the first example, the particle を (wo) is used to mark the direct object (i.e. the thing that the person wants to eat). In the second and third examples, に (ni) is used to mark the direct object because ni is the particle usually associated with going places and meeting people.

Example sentences:

Watashi wa supageti wo tabetai.
I want to eat spaghetti.
Watashi wa nihon ni ikitai.
I want to go to Japan.
Watashi wa kareshi ni aitai.
I want to see (meet) my boyfriend.

Expressing the Wants and Desires of Others by Adding –Garu to the –Tai Form

Now that we’ve familiarized ourselves with how to talk about our own wants and desires, it’s time to learn how to express the wants and desires of others. In order to do this, we must add -garu to the end of the –tai form.

Since a verb in its -tai form is technically an iadjective, the same rule applies for tacking on -garu. You just remove the い (i) and add がる (-garu). Take a look below. 

食べた ➝ 食べたがる tabetai tabetagaruwant to eat ➝ to want to eat
行きた ➝ 行きたがるikitai ikitagaruwant to go ➝ to want to go
会いた ➝ 会いたがるaitai aitagaruwant to meet ➝ to want to meet

Again, we are adding –garu to the end because we are talking about other people (not ourselves) and what it seems/looks like they want to do.

Example sentences:

Erikku wa piza wo tabetagatte iru.
(It seems that) Eric wants to eat pizza.
Kanojo wa dizuniirando ni ikitakatte iru.
She (gives off the impression that she) wants to go to Disneyland.
Kare wa kanojo ni aitagatte iru.
He (gives off the impression that he) wants to see his girlfriend.

In summary, the -tai form is used to express our wants and desires to other people. The –garu form is used to express what others seem to want or desire based on the evidence at hand (e.g. the expression on their face, our knowledge of their character, what they’ve said before, etc.).

Don’t forget, all of you budding ninja and samurai out there! There’s nothing more important than getting out there and practicing what you’ve learned. So, get out there and practice, practice, practice!  

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