Want | English Vocabulary


After want, we normally use an infinitive with to.

  • I don’t want to talk to her again.

An object + infinitive structure is also possible.

  • She wants me to clear her doubts.

That-clauses are not normally used after want.


Want can be followed by an object + complement.

  • want him back.
  • They wanted him dead.
  • We want the job finished by Monday.

To be or as is used before a noun complement.

  • want you to be my wife. (OR I want you as my wife. )
    (NOT I want you my wife.)
be wanting

Be wanting means be missing or lacking.

  • A few pages of this book are wanting.
  • He is wanting in courtesy. (= He is not polite.)

Want meaning ‘need’

In informal British English, want is often used to mean ‘need’.

  • Your hair wants a good brush.
  • That car wants a clean.

In this case, want can be followed by an –ing form.

  • That car wants cleaning.
  • You hair wants brushing.

Manjusha Nambiar

I am the founder and editor of http://www.perfectyourenglish.com, http://www.ielts-practice.org, and http://ncertguides.com

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