I am wanting

Hi

What is the difference between "I'm wanting something" and "I want something"?

I read in the thread below that :

"'I want him to go to nursery school.'
has a subtle difference in meaning from
'I'm wanting him to go to nursery school.'

The first is a simple statement of fact - and expresses a feeling you have that you have no doubt about.

The second is more refelctive: you have had internal doubts - or possibly you think someone may challenge or be surprised at your view. "

Can you please explain this?

https://thegrammarexchange.inf...7#583405316545120257

 

 

 

 

 

Original Post

Tara,

What an interesting thread you have dredged up.  It literally dates back to the earliest days of the Grammar Exchange, years before David, Gustavo, or I had ever heard of it.  It began in 2003 (or perhaps even earlier; it's just that it was sixteen years ago today that the first three posts were transcribed into the then-current format).  The thread lay dormant for more than five years, then was resurrected by Dr Ibrahim, to whom Rachel replied a couple of times.  The thread was then ignored for another half a year, then revived again by Dr Ibrahim, with a bit of back-and-forth with Rachel all on the same day.  It was revived yet again after almost a year and a half.  Now, after nearly nine years later, the thread comes up yet again!

Tara, I respect your choice to start a new thread with a link to the older one, rather than just adding onto the old thread.  Both ways work, but I think your way is a cleaner approach after all these years.  If you'd like suggestions as to how to make your presentation even more elegant, send me an e-mail.  I think you have my address.

So, you have directly quoted a three-paragraph section from a post that Bob Cordell made on this forum sixteen years ago.  I've never interacted with Mr Cordell personally, but he does seem to be fairly intelligent, even though his writing is inexcusably sloppy for a forum such as this.  (I hope you are aware, for example, that in the passage you quoted, "refelctive" is supposed to be "reflective".)

I greatly prefer Rachel's take on this (and perhaps, to a lesser extent, Dr Ibrahim's) over Mr Cordell's.  I agree with Mr Cordell when he says:

'I want him to go to nursery school.'
has a subtle difference in meaning from
'I'm wanting him to go to nursery school.'

Where I disagree is what that difference is.  To me, the difference is not about "doubts", as Mr Cordell suggests.  Rather, I hear the "I want ... " version as something that has always been part of my plan, whereas "I'm wanting ... " conveys more of a sense of immediacy or currency.  This is what seems important to me right now.

Does this help at all?

DocV

Doc V posted:

I greatly prefer Rachel's take on this (and perhaps, to a lesser extent, Dr Ibrahim's) over Mr Cordell's.  I agree with Mr Cordell when he says:

'I want him to go to nursery school.'
has a subtle difference in meaning from
'I'm wanting him to go to nursery school.'

Where I disagree is what that difference is.  To me, the difference is not about "doubts", as Mr Cordell suggests.  Rather, I hear the "I want ... " version as something that has always been part of my plan, whereas "I'm wanting ... " conveys more of a sense of immediacy or currency.  This is what seems important to me right now.

That makes sense to me, DocV. On the extremely rare occasions when I might be inclined to use "wanting" in the progressive, I would use it to speak only of the now, with the implication that the state could change at any moment.

For example, I haven't been to see a medical doctor in about twenty years, but I do have moments when I think it might be time to do so. If I were speaking to someone at one of those times, I might say, "I am wanting to see a doctor."

I might also use the progressive if I were speaking of someone who was subject to whims or who often thinks she wants to do things that she does not wind up doing. One could say, for example, "She is wanting to join the circus."

Another case that comes to mind is cravings, which are by definition temporary intense wants. Someone who has recently quit smoking, for example, might say, "I am wanting a cigarette right now" or"I am wanting to smoke."

David, thank you for your response, and for these specific examples, which do an excellent job of illustrating the "sense of immediacy or currency" that I spoke of, and what Rachel calls the momentary condition.  (In retrospect, I find her phrase more elegant than mine.)

Terry wrote:

I want to have a girlfriend.

This sounds a bit strange to me.  It is not ungrammatical, per se, but I would find it more natural to say:

I wish I had a girlfriend.

Terry also wrote:

Today is Valentine’s Day. I am wanting to have a girlfriend badly.

Terry, in accordance with what Rachel, David, and I have said about the momentary, the temporary, and the immediate with regard to the progressive construction as used here, I would surmise that what you want to have badly (or rather, what the character who speaks wants to have badly, since you say that this does not really reflect your own intention) is not exactly what I would call a girlfriend.

Tara wrote:

I started a new thread since that thread is about stative verbs but I had questions about just "want"

Yes, and as I say, that was the best decision here.

Sorry DocV, I really don't have any suggestion

About what?

Thank you very much

You are very welcome.  Thank you for your questions here and your continuing presence on the forum.

DocV

Thank you both very much

About this that you said" If you'd like suggestions as to how to make your presentation even more elegant, send me an e-mail.",

Sorry, "state verbs express states or conditions which are relatively static.", how can we use them to express a temporary condition?

Tara,

I think I see the misunderstanding.  To simplify, the dialog went like this:

DocV:  If you'd like suggestions as to how to make your presentation even more elegant, send me an e-mail.  ...  So, you have directly quoted a three-paragraph section from a post ...
Tara:  Sorry DocV, I really don't have any suggestion
DocV:  About what?
Tara:  About this that you said" If you'd like suggestions as to how to make your presentation even more elegant, send me an e-mail."

What I was saying was that I had a suggestion that I wanted to offer to you.  I often try to confine my replies to questions that are actually being asked, rather than correct other things that haven't been asked about (such as the lack of a period after "I really don't have any suggestion").  This is meant out of respect.  I don't want to make you, or any other member, feel stupid.  Participation in this forum is a learning experience for everyone, and some of us are farther along than others.  I offered the e-mail option because, by some accident that occurred about a month ago, you are one of very few members of Grammar Exchange that actually has access to my e-mail address.

The suggestion that I was going to offer had to do with the three-paragraph section that you quoted:

"'I want him to go to nursery school.'
has a subtle difference in meaning from
'I'm wanting him to go to nursery school.'

The first is a simple statement of fact - and expresses a feeling you have that you have no doubt about.

The second is more refelctive: you have had internal doubts - or possibly you think someone may challenge or be surprised at your view. "

Rules of punctuation in English get a bit tricky when multiple-paragraph quotes are defined by actual quotation marks.  The rule is that each paragraph within the quote must begin with an opening quotation mark, but the ending quotation mark only occurs at the end of the entire quote.  Thus, this passage is more correctly rendered as:

"'I want him to go to nursery school.'
has a subtle difference in meaning from
'I'm wanting him to go to nursery school.'

"The first is a simple statement of fact - and expresses a feeling you have that you have no doubt about.

"The second is more reflective: you have had internal doubts - or possibly you think someone may challenge or be surprised at your view."

Notice that I have corrected Mr Cordell's spelling of "reflective" and omitted the space between the period and endquote after "view".

The more elegant presentation involves using indentation rather than quotation marks to show that the passage is a direct quote.  To do this, highlight the passage that is being quoted.  Then select "Formats" on the toolbar as you're editing your post.  This will bring up a menu with "Blocks" as one of the options.  Clicking on "Blocks" will bring up a sub-menu with the option "Blockquotes".  What you end up with should look like this:

'I want him to go to nursery school.'
has a subtle difference in meaning from
'I'm wanting him to go to nursery school.'

The first is a simple statement of fact - and expresses a feeling you have that you have no doubt about.

The second is more reflective: you have had internal doubts - or possibly you think someone may challenge or be surprised at your view.

The primary advantage is that it is immediately obvious to all readers where the quoted material begins and ends.  Also, you don't have to worry about single and double quotation marks and how they need to interact with each other.

For some reason, on my computer screen, the vertical bar on the left is nearly invisible from most angles.  I'm sorry if this is true for you as well, but this is beyond my control.

I hope you find this information helpful.

With regard to your other question:

Sorry, "state verbs express states or conditions which are relatively static.", how can we use them to express a temporary condition?

I think that in the earlier thread, both Rachel and Dr Ibrahim provide equally valid answers.  There are two ways of observing the situation.

The first is to understand the flexibility of the term "relatively" in the term "relatively static".  "Relatively static" can be interpreted to mean "permanent, for all practical purposes":

1: The Rio Grande defines most of the border between the United States and Mexico,

or it can mean a current state that could change at any time:

2: The Senate and the Supreme Court are currently dominated by dangerous right-wing fanatics.

I would say that in both of these examples, the main verbs ("define" and "dominate") are stative.

On the other hand, consider the verb "rotate" in the following sentence:

3: From the standpoint of an observer outside of our solar system, the Earth rotates on its axis 366.2425 times every time it revolves around the Sun.

This is a condition that is likely to remain true long after the facts of (1) and (2) have changed.  And yet, we must consider "rotate" to be an action verb, not a stative verb.

In this universe, everything is temporary.  And the English language is never static.

I hope this was helpful.  If not, let me know and I'll try again.

DocV

PS:  Tara, I got an e-mail earlier indicating that you had made another post to this thread, but I can't find it now.  Is this true, or is it just a glitch in my e-mail system?

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