How To Say “I Want” In Korean ~고 싶어요

I Want In Korean

In this Korean grammar lesson, you will learn how to say “I want” in Korean and how to ask and answer “What do you want to do?” in Korean. The lesson below uses Korean characters along with English romanization for those of you who are still learning how to read the Korean alphabet. If you want to download a PDF of this lesson, you can do so for free at the bottom of the page.

Want In Korean

Want In Korean- Basic Form

The basic verb form of want in Korean is ~고 싶다 [go sip-da] which means ‘to want’. To use this to say want in Korean you must attach it to an action verb and change ~고 싶다 into the present tense. For example, if you want to say “I want to eat” in Korean you simply attach ~고 싶다 to the verb 먹다 (to eat) to make 먹고 싶다 (to want to eat). 먹고 싶다 in the polite present tense then becomes 먹고 싶어요 (I want to eat). Here are some common Korean action verbs you can use with ~고 싶어요:

  • 하다 [ha-da] = to do
  • 가다 [ga-da] = to go
  • 먹다 [meok-da] = to eat
  • 보다 [bo-da] = to see/watch

Want In Korean- Informal

The casual/informal way to say want in Korean is ~고 싶어 [~go sip-eo]. As you can see, this does not include the polite ending , so this form should only be used with close friends and those much younger than you. Here are some examples of the informal way to say want in Korean with some common action verbs:

  • 하고 싶어 [ha-go si-peo] = want to do
  • 고 싶어 [ga-go si-peo] = want to go
  • 고 싶어 [meok-go si-peo] = want to eat
  • 고 싶어 [bo-go si-peo] = want to see/watch

Want In Korean – Polite

The polite way to say want in Korean is ~고 싶어요 [~go si-peo-yo]. As this includes the polite ending , it can be used in most situations and you will sound polite and respectful. Here are some examples of the polite way to say want in Korean with some common action verbs:

  • 하고 싶어요 [ha-go si-peo-yo] = want to do
  • 고 싶어[ga-go si-peo-yo] = want to go
  • 고 싶어[meok-go si-peo-yo] = want to eat
  • 보고 싶어요 [bo-go si-peo-yo] = want to see/watch

Now that you know how to conjugate action verbs with the ending ~고싶어요 you can easily make sentences using ‘want’ in Korean. Here are some example sentences:

EnglishKoreanListen
I want to eat chicken.치킨 먹고 싶어요.
[chi-kin meok-go si-peo-yo]
I want to watch a movie.영화 보고 싶어요.
[yeong-hwa bo-go si-peo-yo]
I want to study Korean.한국어 공부하고 싶어요.
[han-guk-eo gong-bu-ha-go si-peo-yo]
I want to go now.지금 가고 싶어요.
[ji-geum ga-go si-peo-yo]

What do you want to do? In Korean

‘What’ in Korean is [mweo]. By using what () plus want (~고 싶어요) you can easily make questions to ask somebody ‘What do you want to do?’ in Korean.

‘What do you want to do?’ in Korean is 뭐 하고 싶어요? This is made up of (what) plus 하다 (to do) plus ~고싶어요 (want). To make other questions, such as ‘What do you want to eat?’ / What do you want to watch?’, etc, simply replace the 하다 verb with a different verb. Here are some example questions with ‘want’ in Korean:

EnglishKoreanListen
What do you want to do?고 싶어요?
[mweo ha-go-si-peo-yo?]
What do you want to eat?고 싶어요?
[mweo meok-go-si-peo-yo?]
What do you want to watch?고 싶어요?
[mweo bo-go-si-peo-yo?]
What do you want to buy?고 싶어요?
[mweo sa-go-si-peo-yo?]