Content Markers, Part II

Before we get into this lesson, a quick note about conjugation. Below, we're going to be seeing verbs conjugated into ~たい form, which is used to say "want to VERB." This form did not appear in our conjugation cheat sheet, but it shouldn't be too hard for you to conjugate verbs into ~たい form because all you need to do is add ~たい to the ます-stem of a verb (which you're rapidly becoming a master of, I assure you):

We're also seeing んだ, which we saw way back in this lesson. I already mentioned this before, but んだ is not particularly masculine or feminine — it's neutral (we're technically seeing the more formal んです, but that's beside the point). So, regardless of whether you're a male or female speaker, please feel free to use the sentences appearing below.

I find that the scariest part about using Japanese when out and about in this beautiful country is blurting out the first few words. If you're shy like me, the process might go something like this…

First, you walk into a crazy knife shop, or a custom kimono store, or... fill-in-the-blank store of your dreams.

Second, you panic silently, because you don't know how to talk to the staff.

Then third, you go home and bask in self-induced shame.

Most of us think that we need to have this incredible fluency to manage transactions like complicated purchases, contracts, etc., but in my experience you only need 1 sentence: I'm looking for blah blah blah.

As long as they know that you want a ticket to Kyoto, or a new blue kimono, or a new bank account, or a sharp, beautiful knife, then the rest of the transaction can usually be managed with lots of body language and the occasional English word or two.

I was trying to think of a formula that we could use in various situations, and this is what I (and Rei) came up with...

1) Saying you want to do something:
[something] ~たいんですけど
Note: The ~たい form of a verb comes at the beginning.

2) Saying you want something"
[something] 欲しいんですけど
[something] ほしいんですけど
Note #1: A noun must come before 欲しい.
Note #2: A textbook will tell you to put が between "[something]" and "欲しい," but we're just dropping it for these (completely natural) spoken examples.


For the first one, we can say, for example:

[なになに」 かいたい んです けど…
I'm looking to buy [something]... // I'd like to buy [something]...
Literally: "something / such and such + want to buy + んです + けど..."

なになに is a filler word. So if I wanted to buy a book, I would say 本 (ほん) instead of なになに.

Also, this んですけど is hard to translate. First we have the "ん(です) of explanation," which just shows that we want some help. If you only said 買いたい (かいたい) and stuck nothing onto the end of it, a Japanese person might sarcastically think (though I doubt they'd say) "OK, good for you." Combining んです with けど shows that we want some help buying [something]. (For more on this topic, see this article.)


And for the second one...

[なになに] ほしい んです けど…
I'm looking for [something].
Literally: "something / such and such + wanted + んで + すけど..."


You may already know this, but when you want a thing, you use 欲しい

くるま ほしい!
I want a car!
Literally: "car + wanted!"

あたらしい パソコン ほしい!
I want a new computer!
Literally: "new + PC + wanted!"

かのじょ ほしい!
I want a girlfriend!
Literally: "girlfriend + wanted!"


But when you want to do something, you use ~たい

ピザ たべたい!
I want to eat pizza!
Literally: "pizza + want to eat!"

I want to go!
Literally: "want to go!"

もう かえりたい!
I want to go home already!
Literally: "already + want to go home!"


Knowing how to use both 欲しい (ほしい) and ~たい, all we have to do when entering a store is...

Add んですけど…


Here are some more examples...


Mailing a Package

にもつ がいこくに おくりたい んです けど…
I'd like to send a package overseas.
Literally: "package + foreign country + に + want to send + んです + けど…"


Getting & Cancelling a New Phone Contract

けいたい かいたい んです けど…
I'd like to get a cell phone.
Literally: "cell phone + want to buy + んです + けど…"

That same sentence could also be phrased like this:

あたらしく けいやく したい んです けど…
I'd like to start a new contract.
Literally: "newly + contract + want to do + んです + けど…"

けいたい かいやく したい んです けど…
I'd like to cancel my (phone) contract.
Literally: "cell phone + cancellation of contract + want to do + んです + けど…"


Returning an Item

これ へんぴん したい んです けど…
I'd like to return this item.
Literally: "this + returned goods + want to do + んです + けど…"


Opening & Closing a Bank Account

こうざ ひらきたい んです けど…
I'd like to open an account.
Literally: "account + want to open + んです + けど…"

こうざ かいやく したい んです けど…
I'd like to close [cancel] my account.
Literally: "account + cancellation of contract + want to do + んです + けど…"


Buying a TV

テレビ ほしい んです けど…
I'm looking for a TV.
Literally: "TV + wanting + んです + けど…"


The Super List for Your First Week Living in Japan what you just read above. So you might want go over those a few times. ^_^

We don't have too many examples for 欲しい because we're going look at this more in the next lesson, when we talk about wanting other people to do things.

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