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I am in doubt about the meaning of "xiǎng" and "yào":

As per my research on the web, if I want to say "I would like to ... " I would write "Wǒ xiǎng yào...". However, if instead, I wanted to say "I would like to eat noodles." I would write "Wǒ xiǎng chī miàntiáo."

Why doesn't "yào" appear in the second sentence? I am a bit confused about this.

  • see jukuu for "I would like to", 100 samples ~+verb allmost all are translated as 我想+verb, a few as 我愿意+verb, or 我要+verb,grammar on auxiliary/modal(能愿动词)discusses any differences between these 3, as for想要 see e.g. bkrs:to want to to feel like to fancy to care for sb desirous of (can be used with NP as object:我想要你,不想要的孩子) jukuu: 100 samples – user6065 Aug 13 '17 at 3:20
  • As a future auxillary, I think that would make 要 the best word choice. If you were to be more considering as opposed to knowing perhaps 想 works better, and I am not sure if it follows that 想要is a middle ground. I suppose that makes sense when I see Jacob's answer. – Abe Shudug Aug 13 '17 at 4:07
  • 想 and 要 also are common/regular verbs, consequently 想要 combines auxiliary verb 想 with regular/common/full-fledged verb 要 – user6065 Aug 13 '17 at 5:46
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Of course, if you want to you can say '我想要一份面’ or even '请给我带来一份 ...‘ In 'I would like' 'would' is the imperfect subjunctive of 'will'. ‘I would like' is incomplete, because a subjunctive needs a condition 'if ...'. Out of a strange, twisted form of over-politeness, it became popular in English to say 'I would like' short for 'I would like, if it is not too much trouble, ....' or some other condition after 'if ...'.

Now, you are in a restaurant. The restaurant sells food to make money. It is definitely not too much trouble to bring you what you want to eat. That is their job and how they make their living.

Forget 'I would like', that is not Chinese. Try 'for me the ...' or 'I'm ordering ...'

Precede what you say with '请‘ and you are super polite.

Try ‘给我来一份面’ 或者 ‘我点一份拉面’ neither would be considered impolite.

  • Here does 份 mean portion or an order of? I don't know the term..mostly I would know dish, plate, etc – Abe Shudug Aug 13 '17 at 21:54
  • 份 is the 量词 for dishes in this case. For example: ‘一份土豆丝’ ‘一份西红柿炒鸡蛋’. Chinese eating culture is, in my opinion, far superior to the West. In the West you get what you order on a plate, just for yourself. Here in China, if you eat out with friends, the waiters will put lots of dishes on the table, some hot, some cold, everyone tries everything. Only at the end, if you are not full up will they ask if you want some rice or noodles. – Pedroski Aug 15 '17 at 2:12
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They are basically identical. xiǎng is an idea, maybe only exist in your mind.

willingness: yào > xiǎng yào > xiǎng

Both is correct:

"Wǒ xiǎng yào chī miàn tiáo."

"Wǒ yào chī miàn tiáo."

"Wǒ xiǎng chī miàn tiáo."

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