원하니 vs. 고 싶니 (I want…)| [Grammar of the Week]

안녕하세요!

This week, I had planned on discussing greetings and showing examples of sample conversations with vocabulary. And then I saw a simple example hiding in my drafts expressing two different ways to use “want.” We’ve discussed this a bit before but we haven’t gone into a lot of detail so we’re going to do that instead and do the other thing next time.

sigh. I feel like I keep delaying it…  but that just means it’ll be all the more exciting when we actually get to it!

Let’s get started!

We’ll start by looking at two examples.

  • 어느 책을 원하니? (eoneu chaeg-eul wonhani?) | “Which book do you want?”
  • 어느 의자를 움직이고 싶니? (eoneu uijaleul umjig-igo sipni?) | “Which chair do you want to move?”

What makes these sentences different? Context and usage.

원하니

  • derived from the verb 원하다 (wonhada)
  • “to want or hope for”

고 싶니

  • derived from 고 싶다 (-go sipda)
  • to be desirous of; to want

Okay, so as you can see from the above definitions, these look the same. But let’s look at what’s missing from these meanings.

원하니

  • derived from the verb 원하다 (wonhada)
  • “to want or hope for”
  • (requires a noun)

-고 싶니

  • derived from -고 싶다 (-go sipda)
  • to be desirous of; to want
  • (requires a verb with the ending -고 (-go))

With that in mind, let’s look at those examples again.

  • 어느 책을 원하니? (eoneu chaeg-eul wonhani?) | “Which book do you want?”
    • Requires a noun
    • Noun: (책을 | book)
  • 어느 의자를 움직이고 싶니? (eoneu uijaleul umjig-igo sipni?) | “Which chair do you want to move?”
    • Requires a verb
    • Verb: (움직이고 | moving something)

So did you notice the difference the second time around? We’ll be looking at this all week! And of course, we’ll get to why we used -니 as an ending as well.

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