Basically whole question in the title. I was told that saying 我想要了一杯茶 or anything along those lines is incorrect. Why?

3 Answers 3


I think the problem is the usage of the character "了".

When "想要" and "了" are used together, the object is usually placed between them. e.g. "我剛才不渴, 但現在想要一杯茶了." The object may be omitted too, e.g. "親愛的, 我想要了." (....the wife whispering to her husband....)

You may also have noted the difference between "想要" and "想要....了". When "想要" is used alone, it refers to the intention/though/request itself. When "想要....了" is used, it usually signifies a recent change or a decision just made.

As for "想" vs "要" vs "想要", cingS has given a clear answer already.

  • haha had a good laugh @ . "親愛的, 我想要了." (....the wife whispering to her husband....)
    – Mou某
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 12:41

@ccless1 have explained quite good, but there are some problems unsolved.

no 想要了 is used in Chinese actually.

  • 想要 means I would like something

  • means I want something


  • 我想要一杯茶

    I would like a cup of tea, please

  • 我要一杯茶

    give me a cup of tea, b***h

By the way

我想一杯茶 is not actually proper Chinese for I would like a cup of tea

have the meanings of think, or miss

我想一杯茶 means I am thinking about / of a cup of tea

  • 2
    To be more precise, 想 becomes want to when used in front of another verb, e.g. 我想去洗手間 I want to go to the washroom; 我想睡覺 I want to sleep. In English you can simply omit to have after want to signify your desire for something i.e. I want that car; I want a cup of tea; What you are really saying is just I want to have that car; I want to have a cup of tea, 我想要那台車; 我想要一杯茶
    – Zukaberg
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 21:27

In this sentence like you could use either 想要,想 or 要,as all mean "to want," though you should note that there is a slight difference here in terms of tone and politeness.

我想一杯茶 means "I would like a cup of tea."

我要一杯茶 and 我想要一杯茶 mean "I want a cup of tea."

The link below might be helpful.

  • Thanks, I thought it might have something to do with the 了。 I guess I got confused. I thought 想 meant "to want to" and 想要 meant "to want."
    – RothX
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 15:56
  • Actually, the site you linked to does say that 想要 means "to want."
    – RothX
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 16:02
  • Actually, you're right, looks like 想要 works just as well. Sorry about the misinformation, not sure where I heard it. In any case, I think the problem then is the 了, as you previously stated. Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 16:08
  • Should the 了 go somewhere else or be removed altogether? And why?
    – RothX
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 16:16
  • 1
    了 is most commonly used to indicate a that an action has been completed or that a state has changed. In this case, 想要 is not an action that can be completed (you can't complete wanting it if you're asking for it), but you could say something like 我想要一杯茶了, which would mean "Now I want a cup of tea," implying that you did not before. Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 16:20

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