November 26


Wish vs. Want


Hi everyone, you’re listening to Cambridge Exam Coach, a podcast for people who want to improve their English.

I’m Kristian, your host, and in this episode we’re talking about the difference between wish and want.

Wish can be a desire or need, but is implied to be something that may not be likely to occur, or something that is not likely to be within one’s control.

If you say, ‘I wish I had X’, you are indicating that there is little or nothing you can do to get it. You would like to have it but it is beyond your power.

For example,

I wish I were a millionaire.

I am wishing for a lovely present for Christmas. (This depends on the action of another person, which I cannot control.)

Also ‘wish’ is used more in emotional contexts, like

I wish you were mine, because I love you.

On the other hand, ‘want’ is more of a logical or physical desire or need, that is implied to be something that may occur, or is within one’s control to occur.

For example,

I want new shoes.

I want a donut.

So, to sum it all up in one sentence: ‘Wish’ is normally used for things outside your control and ‘want’ typically implies that it is within your control.

That’s all for today. Take care of yourself, and each other, and I’ll speak to you on the podcast soon, but for now it’s time to say goodbye!

About the author 


Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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