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 Post subject: Question - wanted and want difference
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 7:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:34 pm
Posts: 4
Hi Steve,

Can you please explain the difference between "wanted" and "want"?

Ex - I wanted to see the movie
I want to see the movie.

Both lines express the same meaning.


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 Post subject: Re: Question - wanted and want difference
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:24 pm
Posts: 559
Hi,

This is a good question. You mention that they express the same thing, but they are actually different.

I want to see the movie - this sentence is what you are probably thinking.

I wanted to see the movie - this sentence is saying that you wanted to see the movie in the past, but current circumstances will not allow you to watch the movie any longer.

It is easier to understand this using a different statement.

I wanted to eat the cake.

A: "Did you see my cake in the refrigerator?"
B: "Oh yes. I already ate it. It was delicious."
A: "What? I wanted to eat the cake!"

This person cannot say "I want to eat the cake." because the cake is no longer there. It is gone. So the person needs to use the past tense of want to indicate that the desire to eat the cake was in the past because it is not possible to eat the cake now.

The sentences are definitely different. I hope I did okay explaining it to you. If not, please let me know and I will try again.

_________________
Steve Kim
English Teacher
TalkEnglish.com Founder


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