I hear a lot of different ways to express the idea of wanting something or wanting to do something. What is the difference between them?

  • Yo quiero (algo o hacer algo o que pase algo)
  • Me gustaría ...
  • Me toca ...
  • Me late ...
  • Yo deseo ...
  • Se me antoja ...
  • Tengo ganas de ...

I understand that region, level of formality, context, and shades of meaning can be different. I'd enjoy knowing more about this list and others that might belong on it.

  • 2
    In Mexico at least there is also "Yo tengo ganas de ..." Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 9:17
  • "Me provoca" could also be in your list. At least in Colombia, we don't use "Me antoja" but "Se me antoja". Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 1:59

3 Answers 3

  • Yo quiero (algo o hacer algo o que pase algo) I want (Something or To do something or Something to Happen)
  • Me gustaría ...I'd like to/a
  • Me toca ...Not expressing desire
  • Me late ...Informal way of saying I'd like, people in Mexico would understand that, I'm not sure about other latin countries.
  • Yo deseo ...I wish - Desearía.....I'd wish
  • 1
    whim is a noun, not a verb, so you can't say "I whim" in English.
    – jrdioko
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 19:58
  • I can't remember ever hearing late in Mexico, but that might just be due to not being fluent enough. Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 0:16
  • Mexico is where I hear me toca and me late to express desire.
    – Brian
    Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 0:18

I will translante, explain and give you some examples:

Yo quiero -> I want
Ex. Quiero levantarme tarde -> I want to wake up late.

You can translate this literally and there is no problem. This describes just and only just your desire to do something or get something.

Me gustaría -> I would like to
Ex. Me gustaría ser presidente -> I would like to be president
Ex. Me gustaría verte en la noche -> I would like to see you tonight

This express desire and at the same the incapability to do something and also this can express a request.

Me toca -> It's my turn
Ex. (Juando video juegos) me toca. (Playing video games) It's my turn.

This express enthusiasm in a person to do something and is only used if you're in a group.

Me late -> I have a good feeling
Ex. Me late este negocio -> I have a good feeling about this business.

This express a good feeling about something.

Yo deseo -> I wish
Ex. Deseo tacos -> I wish tacos.

This express desire but in a way of a command.

Se me antoja -> I in the mood
Ex. Se me antojan unos nachos -> I in the mood for nachos.

Most of the time this expression is used when you think what you want to eat. You can also use it to express desire to do something. This expression really depends on the context.

Tengo ganas de -> I want (to)
Ex. Tengo ganas de ir a bailar -> I want to go to dance.

This express the desire and the disposition to do something.

  • Your translations of gustaría seem wrong to me. I always know it to be would like (to). Only people who have been president know if they like it, and "I really like to see you tonight" doesn't sound like natural English at all. Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 8:25
  • I concur with @hippietrail. "Me gustaría" is "I would like to".
    – rsuarez
    Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 8:55
  • Fixed!, Sorry my mistake.
    – razpeitia
    Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 16:02
  • 1
    @razpeitia: Moving along, "wish" in English doesn't usually take a direct object, only an indirect object with "for". You can "wish for a thing" but you can't "wish a thing". But even "I wish for tacos" doesn't sound natural. "I desire tacos" sounds better but not much and I'm not sure the translation is right any more )-: Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 16:12
  • 1
    @razpeitia: And we don't say "on the mood" but "in the mood", and even then it's not verbal, it's adverbal. That is to say it comes after a verb, usually "to be". So not "I on the mood" but "I am in the mood". Further, in English use are "in the mood for something" not "in the mood of something". Sorry if it seems like I'm picking on you (-: Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 16:14

You are forgetting "Te me antojas" which is a Mexican expression. When said like this, it is used with people you are craving/desiring; not objects.

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