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Gyūnyū o katte-kite hoshii-n da kedo. (I want you to buy some milk.)

Situation 1: Mr. Shiba arrives at the station near his house and calls his wife from there.

夫:今、ひがし駅にいるけど、何か買うものある?

妻:じゃ、牛乳を買ってきてほしいんだけど。

Otto: Ima, Higashi eki ni iru kedo, nanika kau mono aru?

Tsuma: Ja, gyūnyū o katte-kite hoshii-n da kedo.

Husband: I’m at Higashi Station at the moment, is there anything I should buy?

Wife: Yeah, I want you to buy (and bring back) some milk.

When a verb in the te-form, “X,” is combined with ほしい, or a verb in the nai-form is combined with でほしい, the structure conveys an expression of an informal request or wish, in which the speaker wants another person to do something. The subject 私 (わたし, I/me) tends to be omitted from this pattern:

ちょっと手伝(てつだ)ってほしいんだけど。

(I’d like you to help me a bit.)

ここに自転車(じてんしゃ)を止(と)めないでほしいんですが。

(I’d rather you didn’t park your bicycle here.)

In daily conversation, adding “んだけど” or, more politely, “んですが” to the sentence suggests a sense of reservation that softens the demand, as seen in Mrs. Shiba’s response in Situation 1. Note that using Xほしい is different from Xたい, which shows the speaker’s will:

ここに自転車を止めたいです。

(I’d like to park my bicycle here.)

The Xほしい structure, is also used when hoping for a specific situation or natural phenomenon to occur:

毎日(まいにち)雨(あめ)が降(ふ)っているから、晴(は)れてほしいですね。

(It has been raining every day, I wish it would be sunny.)

新型(しんがた)コロナウイルスが早(はや)くなくなってほしいですね。

(I hope the novel coronavirus dies out soon.)

The particle “ね” is added to this pattern when the speaker is looking for affirmation.

Situation 2: Ms. Gray asks her co-worker Mr. Mita to help her.

グレイ:三田さん、この箱を一つ運んでもらいたいんだけど。

三田:うん、いいよ。けっこう重いね。

Gurei: Mita-san, kono hako o hitotsu hakonde-moraitai-n da kedo.

Mita: Un, ii yo. Kekkō omoi ne.

Gray: Mr. Mita, can you carry this box for me?

Mita: Yeah, OK. It’s quite heavy.

A verb in te-form/nai-form combined with もらいたい is almost the same as a verb in te-form/nai-form with ほしい:

この本(ほん)は、世界中(せかいじゅう)の子(こ)どもたちに読(よ)んでもらいたい。

(I want this book to be read by children around the world.)

But, unlike the te-form/nai-form with ほしい, this expression is not used to wish a situation or natural phenomenon.

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Tamachi is talking about the upcoming presentation with her junior co-worker Mr. Morishita.

森下(もりした):あの、プレゼンの資料(しりょう)を作(つく)ったんですけど、見(み)ていただけますか。

田町(たまち):そうね。ここのスライドの字(じ)はもっと大(おお)きくしてほしいんだけど。字が小(ちい)さいと、読みにくいっていう方(かた)も多(おお)いから。

森下:ああ、そうですね。気(き)がつきませんでした。すぐに直(なお)します。

田町:それから、森下さんには、話(はな)すときに、皆(みな)さんとちゃんと目(め)を合(あ)わせてもらいたいな。そうしないと、説得力(せっとくりょく)がないよ。

森下:わかりました。練習(れんしゅう)します。

田町:プレゼンにはお客(きゃく)さんがたくさん来(き)てほしいね。

森下:えっ、それは緊張(きんちょう)します。

田町:でも、こういうプレゼンの機会(きかい)を何度(なんど)も経験(けいけん)すると、プレゼンがうまくなるのよ。

森下:それはそうですね。がんばります。[ひとりごと] ほんとうは、プレゼンのとき、田町さんに助(たす)けてもらいたいなあ。

Morishita: Ms. Tamachi, I put together the presentation materials. Would you mind having a look?

Tamachi: Let’s see. I want you to make the letters in the slides bigger. If the letters are small, many people will find it hard to read.

Morishita: Oh, you’re right. I hadn’t noticed. I will fix that immediately.

Tamachi: And Mr. Morishita, when you speak, I’d like you to make eye contact with everyone. Otherwise, you’re not convincing enough.

Morishita: I understand. I’ll practice.

Tamachi: I’d like a lot of customers to come to this presentation.

Morishita: Well, that makes me nervous.

Tamachi: But if you experience these kinds of presentations again and again, you’ll become good at them.

Morishita: That’s true. I’ll do my best. [to himself] Honestly, I want Ms. Tamachi to help me while I’m doing my presentation.

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