Expression of Hope: -고 싶다

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Today the Chuseok period begins. Chuseok is a period of family, warmth and happy feelings in Korea, so I thought talking about expressions of hope would be an excellent topic for today. One ways to express your hopes and/or wishes is the verb ending -고 싶다 which is a very easy verb to express your hopes, dreams and wants.

Wants and Wishes With -고 싶다

Expressing your wants and wishes is very easy in Korean. You simply need to know how to use the verb ending -고 싶다. You can easily translate this grammar pattern as “want to” in English. This expression of hope sets itself as it you also use to ask after very specific wants. For example you can also ask this verb ending to ask what someone wants to drink.

How To Use

In essence using the verb ending -고 싶다 is not that hard. A careful observer will note that another verb ending is part of this one. Indeed this verb ending follows the same rules as the verb ending -고. As such the basic rule is simple. Regardless the final letter of the verb stem, you simply attach the ending -고 싶다 to the verb stem.

Expression of Hope: -고 싶다
A shortened how to use -고 싶다.

However, there are a few important side notes you need to be aware of. The first side note is regarding the type of verbs you can use with this verb ending. You cannot simply use adjectives with the verb ending -고 싶다 as easily as ordinary action verbs. However, there is a way how you can still use adjectives, you simply turn them into a verb by using the ending -아/어지다. Let’s look at an example:

(X) 날씨가 좋고 싶어요. > (O) 날씨가 좋아지고 싶어요. | I want good weather.

Another side note to keep in mind is that the normal use of -고 싶다 is reserved for the yourself (first person). If you want to tell someone about the wants of someone else (third person), you will need another strategy. In this case you will need to use the verb ending -아/어하다 with -고 싶다 this turning it into -고 싶어 해요. Let us look at an example:

(X) 마크 씨는 이사하고 싶어요. > (O) 마크 씨는 이사하고 싶어 해요. | Mark wants to move.

Another is that you have the ability to use either 이/가 and 을/를 for the direct object of the sentence. Now this might sound weird, but remember that the subject particle 이/가 is used to emphasize whatever would ordinarily use the object particle 을/를. Let’s look at an example:

가족을 보고 싶어요. I want to see my family.

가족이 보고 싶어요. I (really) want to see my family.

A last side note I want to make is regarding the ‘verb’ 싶다 itself. Even though you do not use it except in grammar patterns, it is still a verb. As such you can combine it with various other verb patterns such as -(으)ㄴ/는/(으)ㄹ. It is, however, important to note that 싶다 is considered a special case of descriptive verbs. Keep this in mind.

With all that you can now express your wants and wishes as a professional in Korean. Just keep the side notes in mind and you won’t have any problems. Let us know in the comments below what your fondest want is at this moment in Korean.


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October 3, 2017

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