N5 Grammar – Wants and Invitations

Welcome everyone, this is Mac with another N5 Grammar Lesson from JLPT Boot Camp. Last episode, we learned about some important Japanese particles. Today, we are going to talk about wants and invitations. We are going to look at a few, very short exchanges. Let’s give it a try.

Conversation 1 (0:23)

Matt and Yu are deciding what to order. They are friends, so this is in casual Japanese.

Yu:    おこのみやきを べたいの。
           Okonomiyakiwo     tabetaino.
           Do (you) want to eat okonomiyaki?

Matt: ええ、どれに しよう。
             Ee,      doreni      shou.
             Yes, which should (we) have?

Breaking that down, Yu said おこのみやき, okonomiyaki, a kind of savory pancake, を, the object marking particle, べたい, want to eat, and finally の, the casual question marking particle. All together, she is asking “do you want to eat okonomiyaki?”.

So if you aren’t familiar with okonomiyaki, it’s a fried pancake like dish, made of batter, cabbage and some kind of meat, usually pork, but could be a lot of other things. There is also another variety that has noodles in it. And it is quite famous in Osaka. If you ever go to Osaka, you will want to check it out. It is very good..

So Matt responds with ええ, yes, どれ, which, and finally にしょう, should we decide on. All together he is asking “yes, which should we have?’ or “what kind should we have?”.

Yu here was talking about what she wants to do, by using ~たい. To form this structure, you need to take the masu-stem and add たい. That’s it! Pretty simple. If you don’t remember what the masu-stem is, it is a verb in polite masu form with the masu removed. For example, き is the masu stem of 行く, because the masu form is きます.

There are a few rules you need to keep in mind for this. For one, you can not use this to talk about what others want to do. For example, this is an invalid sentence:

X 田中たなかさんは おこのみやきを べたいです
  Tanakasanwa okonomiyakiwo tabetaidesu.
  Mr. Tanaka wants to eat okonomiyaki.

However, you can use it in questions:

田中たなかさんは おこのみやきを べたいですか
Tanakasanwa okonomiyakiwo tabetaidesuka.
Does Mr. Tanaka want to eat okonomiyaki?

Let’s give it a quick try. Can you say “(I) want to drink beer” in polite Japanese?

ビールを 飲みたいです。ビールを 飲みたいです。
Biiruwo     nomitaidesu.
(I) want to drink beer.

Exactly! You got it, just take the masu-stem of the verb む which gives you み, and then add たい.

Conversation 2 (2:45)

Now, Matt and Yu are deciding what to eat. Again, this is casual.

Yu:    フルーツの おこのみやきが ほしいな。
               Furuutsuno   okonomiyakiga    hoshiina.
              (I) want fruit okonomiyaki.

Matt:   フルーツ。
               Furuutsu.
              Fruit.

Yu:    そう。フルーツは おいしい。おこのみやきも おいしい。
               Sou.     Furuutsuwa   oishii.       okonomiyakimo    oishii.
              That’s right. Fruit is delicious. Okonomiyaki is also delicious.

   いっしょに とても おいしいでしょう。
                Isshoni        totemo        oishiideshou.
             Together, they are totally delicious, don’t you think?

Matt:   ああ、はい そうだね。
                Aa,      hai       soudane.
              Uh, yes, that’s right.

Breaking that down, フルーツ, fruit, の, used here because fruit is a noun describing another noun, おこのみやき, okonomiyaki, が, the subject marking particle, ほしい, wanted, and finally な, a particle used to elicit agreement. All together, she is saying “(I) really want the fruit okonomiyaki”.

Matt replies with フルーツ, fruit. He’s a little shocked at Yu’s choice here.

And Yu says そう, yes. And then, フルーツ, fruit, は, the topic marking particle, and おいしい, delicious. Next sentence, おこのみやき, okonomiyaki, は, the topic marking particle, and おいしい, delicious. Next sentence, いっしょに, together, とても, totally, おいしい, delicious, and finally でしょう, the copula, used here to kind of mean ‘don’t you think so too?’. All together, she is saying “Yes. fruits are delicious. Okonomiyaki is delicious. Together, they are totally delicious, don’t you think?”.

Matt responds with ああ, uh, はい, yes, and finally そうね, that’s right. All together, he is saying “uh, yes, that’s right”. In other words, Matt isn’t so sure about fruits okonomiyaki.

Yu used が + ほしい to talk about what she wants. While using ~たい can express your desire to do something, が + ほしい expresses your desire for something, usually. In this case, Yu wants fruit okonomiyaki. This is quite easy to form. The key thing to remember is that the thing you want is marked with が. This is often the case when you are expressing a state and not an action. The object is marked with が.

Let’s give it a try. Can you say “(I) want a bag” in polite Japanese? And bag, in this case, is かばん in Japanese.

かばんが ほしいです。
Kabanga    hoshiidesu.
(I) want a bag.

Right! How about for bonus points, can you say “(I) want a bag for Christmas”?

クリスマスに かばんが ほしいです。
Kurisumasuni   kabanga    hoshiidesu.
(I) want a bag for Christmas.

Good work! We use the に particle to mark the time, クリスマス.

Conversation 3 (5:08)

All right, now it is the next day and Matt is talking to his co-worker. Since he is talking to his co-worker, we are going to use the polite form.

Yu:   ひるごはんは なにを べましょうか。
                    Hirogohanwa naniwo tabemashouka.
                   For lunch, what shall we eat?

Matt:        おこのみやきを 食べたいです。
                    Okonomiyakiwo  tabetaidesu.
                   (I) want to eat okonomiyaki. 

                          おいしくていいレストランが ありますよ。
                            Oishikuteiiresutoranga arimasuyo.
                          There is a good delicious restaurant (nearby).

Breaking that down, ひるごはん, lunch, は, the topic marking particle, 何, what, を, the object marking particle, and finally 食べましょうか, shall we eat. All together, she is saying “For lunch, what shall we eat?”

Matt responds with おこのみやき, okonomiyaki, を, the object marking particle, 食べたい, want to eat, and finally です, the copula. Next sentence, おいしくて, delicious, いい, good, レストラン, restaurant, が, the subject marking particle, あります, the polite non-past ある, to exist (for inanimate objects), and finally よ, a particle used to give the sentence emphasis. All together, he is saying “(I) want to eat okonomiyaki. There is a good, delicious restaurant.”

Matt’s co-worker was making a polite suggestion with ましょうか, which is often translated as “let’s”. This is used to suggest something that the speaker would like to do, usually with the listener. Although it is sometimes spoken to oneself when making a decision to do something. This can be a little direct because it is expressing the speakers desire, but it is still considered polite Japanese.

It’s quite easy to form. You simply add ましょうか to the end of the Vstem, very much like we did for the たい form.

Let’s try it one time. Can you say “let’s speak” in polite Japanese?

はなしましょうか。
Hanashimashouka.
Let’s speak.

Right! Okay, how about “let’s speak Japanese”?

日本語で 話しましょうか。
Nihongode hanashimashouka.
Let’s speak Japanese.

Good work! We mark the method of speaking with the で particle. Here, we are using Japanese to speak, so it is most natural to mark it with で.

Conversation 4 (7:05)

Let’s go back to Matt who is still talking to his co-worker in polite Japanese.

Yu:   フルーツの おこのみやきを 食べたいですか。ほんとうですか。
                    Furuutsuno   okonomiyakiwo   tabetaidesuka.      Hontoudesuka.
                   (You) want to eat fruit okonomiyaki? Really?

Matt:      ほんとうですよ。おいしいです。フルーツの おこのみやきを
                   Hontoudesuyo.      Oishiidesu.        Furuutsuno  okonomiyakiwo
                  Truly! It’s delicious! Won’t you eat some fruit okonomiyaki? 

                 食べませんか。
                  tabemasenka.

Yu:          ああ、いいですよ。
                  Aa, iidesuyo.
                Uh, (I)’m good. 

Breaking that down, she said フルーツ, fruit, の, used here because fruit is a noun describing another noun, おこのみやき, okonomiyaki, を, the object marking particle, 食べたい, want to eat, です, the copula, and finally か, the formal question marker. Next sentence, ほんとう, really, です, the copula, and か, the question marking particle. All together she is asking “You want to eat fruit okonomiyaki? Really?”

Matt responds with ほんとう, really, です, the copula, and finally よ, particle used for emphasis. Next sentence, おいしい, delicious, and です, the copula. Last sentence, フルーツ, fruit, の, used here again because fruit is a noun describing another noun, おこのみやき, okonomiyaki, を, the object marking particle, べません, the non-past polite negative of べる, to eat and finally か, the question marking particle. All together, he is saying “Truly! It’s delicious! Won’t you eat some fruit okonomiyaki?”.

His co-worker responds with ああ, uh, いいです, literally good, but here can be understood to be “I’m good” or “I don’t think so”, and finally よ, to add emphasis. All together, she is saying “uh, (I)’m good”.

It sounds like Matt has grown fond of the fruit okonomiyaki.

Matt was using another way to make a suggestion by using ~ませんか. This is also quite easy to form. You simply add ませんか to the end of the Vstem again, very much like we did for the たい and ましょうか forms.

When you use this structure to suggest something, you are asking or checking the listener’s opinion on the topic. It is usually used to start a conversation, whereas ましょうか or just ましょう without the かis often used to confirm details of what the two of you are doing. For example, we might say the following:

A「ひるごはんを べませんか。」
         Hirugohanwo  tabemasenka.
        Won’t you eat lunch (with me)?

B「はい。すしを 食べましょう。」
         Hai.   Sushiwo tabemashou.
        Yes. Let’s eat sushi.

A first asks if B wants to go eat lunch, B confirms that they want to go, and suggests what to eat – sushi. This is the more natural flow of conversation.

Let’s try it one time. Can you say “won’t (you) drink coffee?” in polite Japanese?

コーヒーを 飲みませんか。
Koohiiwo    nomimasenka.
Won’t you drink some coffee?

Right! For bonus points, can you say “won’t you drink one more cup of coffee?” in polite Japanese?

Hint: one cup of something is いっぱい in Japanese.

もういっぱい コーヒーを みませんか。
  Mouippai           koohiiwo     nomimasenka.
Won’t you drink one more cup of coffee?

That’s right! You can use もういっぱい to mean “one more cupful”.

You ready for a pop quiz? I’ll give you the English, can you translate it into Japanese?

Pop Quiz (12:05)

Can you tell me the following in Japanese?

Let’s go skiing. 

Hint: “to go skiing” in Japanese is スキーに 行く.

Answer:

スキーに 行きましょうか。
  Sukiini       ikimashouka.

For “let’s go skiing”, you would say “スキーに いきましょうか”.

(I) want to go for a walk in the park.

Hint: “to walk” in Japanese is あるく.

Answer:

こうえんで あるきたいです。
  Kouende          arukitaidesu.

For “(I) want to go for a walk in the park”, we would say “こうえんで あるきたいです” in polite Japanese. Breaking that down, こうえん, park, で, a particle that marks where an action takes place, あるきたい, want to walk, and finally です, the copula

I want a big house.

Answer:

かれは 8に そのレストランを ました。
Karewa  hachijini  sonoresutoranwo      demashita.

For “he left the restaurant at 8”, we would say “かれは 8時に そのレストランを 出ました” in polite Japanese. Going over that quickly, かれ, he, は, the topic marking particle, 8時, 8 o’clock, に, a particle to mark a time or location, その, that or the, レストラン, restaurant, を, the object marking particle, and finally 出ました, the past polite form of 出る, to exit or depart.

I want a big house.

Hint: “House” in Japanese is いえ.

Answer:

おおきいいえが ほしいです。
   Ookiiiega         hoshiidesu.

For “I want a big house”, we would say “大きいいえが ほしいです” in polite Japanese. Breaking that down, 大きい, big, いえ, house, が, the subject marking particle, ほしい, wanted, and finally です, the copula. Remember, we need to use the が particle with ほしい, since it is expressing a state and not an actual action.

Would you like to see this movie?

Answer:

このえいがを ませんか。
Konoeigawo      mimasenka.

For “would you like to see this movie?”, we would say “このえいがを 見ませんか” in polite Japanese. Breaking that down, この, this, えいが, movie, を, the object marking particle, and finally 見ませんか, won’t you see.

Review

Today, we talked about expressing our wants and how to make suggestions. To express that you want to do something, just take the masu-stem and add たい. Remember that this is usually only used about yourself or in questions and not to talk about others.

If you want to talk about an object that you want, you would use がほしい. Remember to mark the object that is wanted with the が particle. This is because it marks a state and not an action.

To make a polite suggestion, we can use ましょうか. Just remember that this expresses the speaker’s feeling and is looking for agreement. While using ませんか is used to check the listener’s opinion. When making suggestions, it is best to start off with ましょうか and then ask for further details with ませんか.

And both of these are formed by taking the Vstem and adding ましょうか or ませんか.

That’s it for this episode. For notes and more practice with the grammar point, stop by the JLPT Boot Camp courses site. There you can find quizzes, study guides for this grammar point and every grammar point covered in the videos. You can also get all of your questions answered you might have. Just leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

Cover of the JLPT N5 Study GuideThe JLPT Study Guide for the N5 is now available at Amazon. Packed with exercises to help you master all the grammar points needed for the test, this is a must have study guide for anyone preparing for the N5. It also has reading and listening strategies and practice exercises so you can hone those skills before the exam. Once you’ve finished the book, there are 3 practice tests to check your level and 100s of audio flashcards you can use anywhere to review what you learned.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Sarah August 4, 2020, 12:58 pm

    Hi there,

    first of all, as always thank you for this interesting lesson. I just wanted to point out, that I think there is a little mistake in the pop quiz: after the third question a somewhat out of place piece of explanation slipped in, if I’m not mistaken :).

    • Clayton MacKnight August 6, 2020, 2:12 am

      I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying there is something extra in the audio? Or in the video? I couldn’t find anything. Could you be more specific?

      • Sarah August 6, 2020, 2:16 pm

        Ah, I’m sorry if this was not clear enough. I’m talking about the text version on this site. In the pop quiz section after the “I want a big house.” -question the answer is this (at least, this is what I see):

        かれは 8時に そのレストランを 出ました。
        Karewa hachijini sonoresutoranwo demashita.

        For “he left the restaurant at 8”, we would say “かれは 8時に そのレストランを 出ました” in polite Japanese. Going over that quickly, かれ, he, は, the topic marking particle, 8時, 8 o’clock, に, a particle to mark a time or location, その, that or the, レストラン, restaurant, を, the object marking particle, and finally 出ました, the past polite form of 出る, to exit or depart.

        After that the correct answer follows, but this part seems to have slipped in.

        Best wishes, Sarah

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