Expressing "would like to" with "xiang"

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If you want to express something that you "would like to do," 想 (xiǎng) will be a very helpful auxiliary verb to know. Although similar to 要 (yào), 想 (xiǎng) will give you another more tactful option when you want to articulate a desire.

Basic Usage


The verb 想 (xiǎng) can be used to express "would like to." In this case it's an auxiliary verb. The structure is:

Subj. + 想 + Verb (+ Obj.)


  • 吗?xiǎng ma? Would you like to go?
  • 面。xiǎng chī miàn.I would like to eat noodles.
  • 水 吗?xiǎng shuǐ ma? Would you like to drink some water?
  • 我们 电视。Wǒmen xiǎng kàn diànshì.We would like to watch TV.
  • 一 个 大 房子。 xiǎng mǎi yī gè dà fángzi.He would like to buy a big apartment.

Negate 想 (xiǎng) with 不 (bù)

No surprises here: use 不 (bù) to negate 想 (xiǎng).


Subj. + 不 + 想 + Verb + Obj.


  • 他们 不 想 去 酒吧。 Tāmen bù xiǎng qù jiǔbā.They wouldn't like to go to the bar.
  • 不 想 认识 这个 美女 吗?bù xiǎng rènshi zhège měinǚ ma? Would you not like to know this beautiful lady?
  • 不 想 回家。bù xiǎng huíjiā.I wouldn't like to return home.
  • 那个 地方 很 近,我 不 想 开车。Nàge dìfang hěn jìn, wǒ bù xiǎng kāichē.That place is so close. I would not like to drive.
  • 不 想 花 父母 的 钱。 bù xiǎng huā fùmǔ de qián.He would not like to spend his parents' money.

See also

Sources and Further Reading