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av. would like to, will; should, must; be about to; be determined to do; might (used to indicate an estimate)
Discussion of 要
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What is the difference between yao4 and xiang3?
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About the differences between 想 and 要:
想 and 要 can both be used to express personal wills and plans. But they have different tones. 想 has a weaker tone, which means the speaker has the wish or plan to do something, but it's not a certain thing that he/she will really put it into action.
要 carries a stronger tone. When using 要, the speaker takes on a very determined attitude. It usually means that speaker has a strong will or determination. Most likely, the speaker will put it into action so as well.
想 is more of a wish or sometimes a little more polite. It is like the difference between saying "I would like... " and "I want... " in English. 要 can also be a little more imperative. ＂我要去厕所＂ although it translates as "I want to go to the toilet" it is closer in meaning to "I must go to the toilet"
As Mag1c1an said, I also use to say "yao" for want and "xiang" for I would like...
Also thanks to lisaC for the excellent explanation!
要 has a stronger meaning than 想 and means 1.) you want something or 2.) will do something (ie, a future tense construction).
IE, 1.) “我要吃饭” - "I want to eat" or 2.) 我要跑一趟学校了- I'm going to make a trip to the school.
想 is softer and means 1.) you wish to do something (but may not do it), or 2.) you are thinking or planning doing something. Sometimes, even if you have a pressing need, you can express it politely by using 想 instead of 要 - in this case it will express a different feeling of the speaker.
Yes.....Yao.....want....but while in English "I want Beer" is almost weird in Chinese "Wo Yao Pi jiu" is fine and normal.....
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