want

Listen:
UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈwɒnt/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/wɑnt, wɔnt/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(wont, wônt)


WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
want
basic use
If you want something, you feel a need for it or a desire to have it.
Do you want a cup of coffee?
All they want is some sleep.
In informal conversation, people sometimes use present progressive and past progressive forms of want.
I think someone is wanting to speak to you.
They were all wanting to be on the team.
Be careful
Don't use present progressive or past progressive forms of want in formal speech or writing.
However, want can be used in the present perfect progressive, the past perfect progressive and the future progressive, in both formal and informal English.
John had been wanting to resign for months.
These new phones are getting very popular – soon everyone will be wanting one.
used with a to-infinitive
You can say that someone wants to do something.
They wanted to go shopping.
I want to ask you a favour, Sara.
Be careful
Don't say that someone ‘wants to not do something’ or ‘wants not to do something’. Say that they don't want to do it.
I don't want to discuss this.
He didn't want to come.
Instead of using a to-infinitive clause, you can sometimes use to on its own after don't want. For example, instead of saying ‘I was asked to go, but I didn’t want to go', you would normally say ‘I was asked to go, but I didn’t want to'. Don't say ‘I was asked to go, but I didn’t want it' or ‘I was asked to go, but I didn’t want'.
I could do it faster, but I just don't want to.
He should not be forced to eat it if he doesn't want to.
You can say that you want someone else to do something.
I want him to learn to read.
The little girl wanted me to come and play with her.
Be careful
Don't use a that-clause after want. Don't say, for example, ‘I want that he should learn to read’.
requests
You don't normally use ‘want’ when you are making a request. It is not polite, for example, to say in a shop ‘I want a box of matches, please’. You should say ‘Could I have a box of matches, please?’ or just ‘A box of matches, please.’
Requests, orders, and instructions
another meaning of ‘want’
In British English, in conversation and in less formal writing, want has another meaning. If something wants doing, there is a need for it to be done.
We've got a few jobs that want doing in the garden.
The windows wanted cleaning.
Be careful
Don't use a to-infinitive in sentences like these. Don't say, for example, ‘We’ve got a few jobs that want to be done in the garden'.
‘be about to’
Don't use ‘want to’ to say that someone is going to do something very soon. Use the expression be about to. Don't say, for example, ‘I was just wanting to leave when the phone rang’. Say ‘I was just about to leave when the phone rang’.
Her father is about to retire soon.
I can't talk now, because I'm just about to go to work.
'want' also found in these entries:
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