Verb (V)-고 싶다, conjugated as V-고 싶어(요), means "to want to V" and is a common pattern in Korean as it is in English. Replace V in V-고 싶다 with an action (processive) verb by taking its dictionary form and replacing '다' with '고'.
The pattern V-고 싶다:
- can only be used with action (processive) verbs, such as 가다, 먹다, or 자다; it cannot be used with adjectives (descriptive verbs) such as 춥다, 필요하다, or 예쁘다.
- can only be used when the subject is yourself, or when you are directly asking a question to somebody else; for any other case, use V-고 싶어하다.
- cannot be used with Noun (N)-이다; use N이/가 되다 instead ("I want to become N").
- can be combined with past and future markers. These markers go after 싶다 and not after V; for example, "하고 싶었어요" (O) & "하고 싶을거예요" (O), and not "했고 싶어요" (X) & "할고 싶어요" (X) or "했고 싶었어요" (X) & "할고 싶을거예요" (X). Like in English, using the pattern V-고 싶다 in the future tense is not common (e.g., "I will want to see you; 내가 널 보고 싶을거야").
- cannot be used with 못 (as in 못하다 cannot do).
When using honorifics with V-고 싶다:
- place the honorific marker -시- in the conjugation of 싶다: V-고 싶으세요/V-고 싶어하세요.
- if V is a verb with an honorific equivalent, use the honorific form instead. E.g., 드시고 싶어하세요 (O) instead of 먹고 싶어하세요 (X).
Informal and Semi-Polite (Without Honorifics)
I want to have this book (반말).
I want to have this book (semi-polite)
I wanted to listen to this album but I lost it.
Note that the verb 듣다 "to listen" conjugates to 들어(요); however, as mentioned above, this pattern uses the dictionary form 듣다 and replaces '다' for '고', resulting in '듣고' (O) and not '들고' (X).
I went to Gwangjang Market yesterday but I want to go again.
I want to become a prosecutor after I graduate from college.
Note the use of "검사가 되고 싶다" (O) rather than "
After I move to America, I think I will want to eat burgers every day.
Semi-Polite and Polite (With Honorifics)
I want to give this book to my grandfather.
My grandfather wants to give me this book.
In this case, "my grandfather" is the subject; as the subject of the sentence is not yourself and the sentence is not a question, 싶어하다 must be used instead of 싶다.
I wanted to tell you (somebody esteemed) something but since we were short on time I couldn't tell you.
Do you want to eat ice cream? (semi-polite with honorifics)
I want this book (polite).
This form ending in "-습니다" is uncommon in daily life. Used mostly when speaking in front of crowds (speeches, meetings, broadcast) or in specific work- or family-related functions.
Do you want to eat ice cream? (polite with honorifics).
As mentioned above, this form is not common in daily life.
- Processive verbs can be made from adjectives using the pattern Adj아/어+지다, "to become Adj". For example, 예브다 "to be pretty" becomes 예뻐지다 "to become pretty". Adjectives modified as such can be used with the pattern V-고 싶다 in most cases; for example, "저는 예뻐지고 싶어요," meaning "I want to become pretty".
- Avoid using 안 in front of V-고 싶다 for negation; as noted in the book Elementary Korean, the longer the verb V is, the worst the sentence will sound. For example, "커피를 안 주고 싶어요, I do not want to give you coffee" sounds relatively better than "커피를 안 떨어트리고 싶어요, I do not want to drop the coffee." Prefer using V-고 싶지 않다: "커피를 주고 싶지 않아요" and "커피를 떨어트리고 싶지 않아요."