1. 想 as a modal verb is usually used before a verb to express a hope or plan. It’s more like “to want to do” “would like to do”.
Subject + 想 + verb + object
我想学汉语。(Wǒ xiǎng xué hànyǔ.) I want to learn Chinese.
我想去超市买水果。(Wǒ xiǎng qù chāoshì mǎi shuǐguǒ.) I want to go to the supermarket to buy fruit.
2. 想 as a verb, it could indicate “think” “think about”.
我们先想一想。(Wǒmen xiān xiǎng yī xiǎng.) Let’s think about it first.
他在想一个问题。(Tā zài xiǎng yīgè wèntí.) He was thinking about a question.
3. 想 as a verb, it could indicate “miss”.
我想你。(Wǒ xiǎng nǐ.) I miss you.
1. 要 as an auxiliary verb is used before a verb to indicate the desire to do something. This is more powerful and resolute than 想.
Subject + 要 + verb + object
我要现在吃饭，太饿了。(Wǒ yào xiànzài chīfàn, tài è le.) I want to eat now, I’m so hungry.
我要买一个电脑，旧电脑坏了。(Wǒ yāomǎi yīgè diànnǎo, jiù diànnǎo huàile.) I need to buy a computer. The old computer is broken.
The negative form is usually “不想”.
A：我要吃午饭，你呢？(Wǒ yào chī wǔfàn, nǐ ne?) I want to have lunch, how about you?
B：我不想吃午饭。(Wǒ bùxiǎng chī wǔfàn.) I don’t want to have lunch.
2. 要 as a verb also means “to need/demand to do something”, as in “需要”.
我明天要去北京出差。(Wǒ míngtiān yào qù Běijīng chūchāi.) I need to go to Beijing on a business trip tomorrow.
生病了？ 你要多休息。(Shēngbìngle? Nǐ yào duō xiūxi.) Did you get sick? You need to rest more.
3. 要 as a verb could be used as a predicate and put before the object, “to want something” “to ask for something”.
Subject + 要 + object
我要一碗面条，谢谢。(Wǒ yào yī wǎn miàntiáo, xièxie.) I want a bowl of noodles, thank you.
The negative form is “不要”.
我要面条，不要米饭。(Wǒ yào miàntiáo, bùyào mǐfàn.) I want noodles, not rice.
4. 要 could indicate “to take time” “to cost money”.
做饭要一个小时。(Zuò fàn yào yīgè xiǎoshí.) It takes an hour to cook.
这个电脑要5000块。(Zhège diànnǎo yào 5000 kuài.) This computer costs 5000 yuan.
5. 要 could indicate that something is going to happen.
听说明天要下雨。(Tīng shuō míng tiān yào xià yǔ.) I heard that it will rain tomorrow.
别骂他了，他要生气了。(Bié mà tāle, tā yào shēngqìle.) Stop scolding him, he is going to be angry.
想要, the “想” is a modal verb and “要” is a verb here, which means “think about wanting something” or “would like to want or have something”.
When asking for something, 想要 is more polite than direct 要.
我想要和你聊一聊。(Wǒ xiǎng yào hé nǐ liáo yī liáo.) I want to have a chat with you.
我想要一杯啤酒。(Wǒ xiǎng yào yībēi píjiǔ.) I want a cup of beer.
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