Requesting a favour politely (~が)

There are 2 purposes of using the structure.


In Japanese, expressing your wish directly is avoided as much as possible.
Less direct expressions such as 〜たいですが… (I’d like to … but…) or
〜たいとおもいますが… (I think I’d like to … but …) are used.
In a shop or when asking directions, this expression is often used without the sentence being completed.




b) とけいを買いたかったんですが、お金がありません。

〜が at the end of the first sentence means ‘but’, and it connects the two sentences.

You may also use けど・けれど・けれども for ’but’.






A) Guess the appropriate requests that may come after ‘but…’ in the following sentences, then translate them using 〜が or 〜けど.

  1. I’m a little cold, but…
  2. My throat is hurting, but…
  3. Excuse me, teacher. I don’t feel well, but…
  4. I want some water, but…
  5. I want to buy a Japanese souvenir, but…
  6. Mum, I want to go to Mie’s house on Saturday, but…

B) Translate these sentences usingが, けど, けれど orけれども

  1. I want to play games, but I have a Japanese test tomorrow.
  1. I want to eat some cake, but I will become fat.
  2. I want to go to a Taku’s birthday party, but I have tennis training on Sunday.
  3. I wanted to study for the Japanese test, but I was sick.
  4. I wanted to go to Japan, but my parents are strict.
  5. I do not want to wake up, but my mum will get angry (おこります).
  1. I did not want to eat natto, but there was no other (ほか) food in the fridge.

Saying what you want to do (action)

As we have introduced in the previous section, 〜がほしい indicates that you want an object; while 〜が+Verb Stem +たい indicates that you want to do something (action)

To make the 〜たい form, simply drop ます and add たい


行きます → 行きたい (I want to go)

食べます → 食べたい (I want to eat)

ます → たい (I want to see)

〜たい inflects in the same way as い adjectives

Present & Future Past
Plain 〜たい 〜たかった
Plan polite 〜たいです 〜たかったです
Plain negative 〜たくない 〜たくなかった
Plain negative polite 〜たないです





The subject of 〜たいです is always ‘I’ or ‘We’, while the subject of 〜たいですか is always ‘you’. Therefore the subject is often omitted.

PARTICLE: Note that in a 〜たい sentence the thing you want is marked by either が or を

Example Sentences:






A) Change the following verbs into たい form. 

  • Buy – 買います – 買いたい
  • See
  • Read
  • Write
  • Go
  • Speak
  • Do

B) Translate these sentences.

  1. I wanted to buy a new car.
  2. I do not want to see the romance movie.
  3. I want to read the Japanese newspaper.
  4. I want to write in Chinese.
  5. Do you want to buy a cute doll?
  6. I want to give (あげる)my mother a flower.
  7. Do you want to go to Japan next year?
  8. I want to speak in Japanese well.
  9. I didn’t want to play soccer today.
  10. I wanted to learn(まなぶ) Spanish.



  • Buy → 買います → 買いたい
  • See → 見ます → 見たい
  • Read → よみます → よみたい
  • Write → かきます → かきたい
  • Go → 行きます → 行きたい
  • Speak → はなします → はなしたい
  • Do → します → したい


  1. あたらしいくるまが買いたかったです。
  2. ロマンスの・ロマンチックなえいがを見たくない(です)。
  3. 日本ごのしんぶんをよみたいです。
  4. 中国ごで・をかきたい(です)。
  5. かわいいにんぎょうが買いたいですか。
  6. 母にはなをあげたいです。
  7. 来年、日本に行きたいですか。
  8. 日本ごをじょうずにはなしたいです。
  9. 今日、サッカーをしたくなかったです。
  10. スペインごをまなびたかったです。


Saying that you want an object

ほしい is an い adjective and means ‘desirable’.

It is translated as ‘want’ in English. ほしい inflects in the same way as an い adjective.

Present Future Past
Plain ほしい ほしかった
Plain polite ほしいです ほしかったです
Plain negative ほしくない ほしくなかった
Plain negative polite ほしくないです

ほしい indicates that the speaker wants something.

In full, the original sentence is 私はゆかたがほしいです, but 私は is usually omitted.

〜んです is the colloquial speech for 〜のです.

おなかがいたいのです。→ おなかがいたいんです。

It is used when the speaker is explaining or asking for an explanation.

In the example sentence,ゆかたがほしいです, the speaker is explaining the reason she is at the counter/shop. It sounds a little blunt and unnatural without it. In informal speech, んだ is usually associated masculinity and の with femininity.

Male: くつがほしいんだ。

Female: かばんがほしいの。

Topic 2 Unit 4 Expand

Department Stores (デパート)

City department stores usually have about ten floors. Some would have a car park in the lower basement. The first basement is frequently connected to the subways. Often when you get off the subway you will find yourself at the entrance of a large department store. Most of the department stores have a similar arrangement of goods on different floors (see image below).

Floor Guide for Takashimaya Osaka

Toward the top, there is a restaurant floor. Many different restaurants serve a variety of dishes to the shoppers. There are cafes as well. On the roof, there is often an amusement park where children play games or have a ride on a merry-go-round. The large Japnese department store is not just a place to shop. People go there to eat, play and look. There is usually an exhibition hall (ギャラリー) where some kind of art exhibition is being held.

Department stores are usually open daily from 10am until 7pm with the exception of one day per week when they are closed. This day is usually not at the weekend, as Japanese people go out shopping on weekends. Every department store has a bargain sale now and again. As the prices drop 50% at these sales, the place becomes very crowded. They are particularly crowded at gift-giving seasons which are in mid-summer and at the end of the year. Every department store has a delivery service free of charge for short distances, and a gift wrapping service which is also free of charge.

The shop assistants at departments stores are specially trained to serve the customers well. When the store opens shop assistants line up at the door and bow to every customer who comes in. Neatly dressed elevator girls keep bowing, shop assistants serve with a smile. Change is never ‘handled’ by hand. It is always passed on a dish. You certainly feel like a king at a Japanese department store. The sale tax of 5% (2006) is included in the price.

Watch the following videos for a better understanding of the Japanese Department Store culture.


Topic 2 Unit 4 At a Shop

By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

  • understand the role department stores have in Japanese people’s lifestyle,
  • understand and communicate in polite speech often used by shop assistants,
  • communicate with the shop assistant in a store to buy a desired item and
  • count various items using the appropriate counter according to their shapes.


  1. Expand
  2. Vocabulary
  3. Kanji
  4. Saying that you want an object (ほしい)
  5. Saying what you want to do (~たい)
  6. Requesting a favour politely (~が)
  7. Counters