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ほしい as an adjective.

GenjiMain

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Hi guys.

In most definitions of ほしい it is described as 'to want', though in English to want is a verb. Would it be accurate to say that ほしい means 'that which is desirable'? In that case, I could make of ほしい being defined as an adjective. Otherwise, I don't really understand how 'to want' can be considered an adjective.

Any help appreciated.
 

Majestic

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You need to decouple Japanese from English in your mind. There isn't a one-for-one exact translation for each word, and sometimes (many times) you will just have to be aware that a certain word or phrase doesn't have an exact cognate, This is true for your other thread as well. For an in-depth explanation of ほしい and how it acts as a verb, you can take a look at the thorough explanation here
「ほしい」という日本語についてですが、なぜ形容詞なのでしょうか?また、なぜ「きれい」という日本語は形容動詞なのでしょうか?よく世間では、語尾に「〜い」とつく...
but it may be a bit rough-going if you are not used to hearing Japanese grammar explained in Japanese. Best for now to accept that ほしい is an イ-adjective that acts as a verb. "That which is desirable" is more of a noun than anything else, so it doesn't work as a verb, And, since ほしい is an イ-adjective, you will run into problems very quickly if you try to think of ほしい as "that which is desirable".
 

Toritoribe

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Hi guys.

In most definitions of ほしい it is described as 'to want', though in English to want is a verb. Would it be accurate to say that ほしい means 'that which is desirable'? In that case, I could make of ほしい being defined as an adjective. Otherwise, I don't really understand how 'to want' can be considered an adjective.

Any help appreciated.
Although the most common English translation of 形容詞/形容動詞 is "adjective", the functions of 形容詞/形容動詞 in Japanese are not the same as the ones of adjective in English. 形容詞/形容動詞 can work as the predicate without any verbs or auxiliary verb in Japanese, unlike English adjectives, which "to be" (or other verbs) is always necessary. There are many those kinds of Japanese adjectives other than ほしい.
e.g.
愛しい/恋しい to love
憎い to hate
好きだ to like
嫌いだ to dislike
 

Psea206

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So could I omit です from すしが好きです ?

so far I am learning the most common sentence structure and formal speech, and I'm sure there's a lot of grammar I haven't seen yet.
 

Psea206

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Thank you. So would omitting the verb entirely be less polite than using だ , or would they be at the same level?
 

Toritoribe

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You can think it's a colloquial form of "stem of na-adjectives + だ" (e.g. 空がきれい, この部屋は静か, あの町は安全, 波は穏やか, etc.). The level of politeness is the same, but you need to know that saying だ is sometimes inappropriate. There are cases that it could sound too strong, rude or masculine.
 
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