Na Nobu
The past tence of "I'd like to" I'd appreciate it if you taugh me about it. I learnt "I'd like to " is polite, and "I want to" is casual. But I don't know the past tence of "I'd like to", so I have used "I wanted to" instead. I'd like to know the past tence of "I'd like to " and if "I wanted to " is not polite.
Jun 18, 2019 8:17 AM
Answers · 8
Hi Nobu, interesting question! Here are my thoughts. When you use 'would like to' you are being more tentative than when you say 'want to'. This is the important difference, it is in how tentative you sound. Tentative means you don't seem sure, decisive, or definite. For example, if you say to your boss "I'd like to take a day off next week.", you are showing that you think your boss's opinion is important. "I'd like to take a day off next week, if you think that's OK." or "... if you don't mind." or "...if you will give me permission." You aren't sure, decisive or definite when you ask; you are waiting for your boss to answer you. So putting this language function into the past tense isn't very simple. When you are talking about the past you are talking about things which have already happened, you aren't actually asking someone for something and so I don't think you need to be tentative to be polite. So, to give you some ideas about how to put my example sentence into the past tense politely: "I wanted to take a day off last week, but my boss said no." -> not polite, too direct. "I wanted to take a day off last week, but unfortunately my boss couldn't allow it." -> polite, you are showing that you respect your boss's decision. "I asked my boss if I might take a day off." -> polite, you are showing that you asked tentatively. "I wanted to take a day off, so I asked my boss the week before." -> polite, you behaved appropriately. So 'I wanted to...' isn't rude at all by itself. 'I want.... ' in the present is simply a very direct and rude way to ask for something. Don't focus only on grammar, think about what function your sentence is performing. Hope that helps :)
June 18, 2019
Arpan, thank you for helping!
June 18, 2019
"I would've liked to" is what you would say talking about something in the past... as for is it more polite to say "I'd like to" instead of "I want to"... well it kind of depends on the context- for example "I want to learn Spanish" "I'd like to learn Spanish" the difference doesn't really matter... "I would like it if you'd help me" sounds better (and more polite) than "I want you to help me" although a native speaker would most probably not take offense to you having said the latter...
June 18, 2019
"I would've liked to" is what you would say talking about something in the past... as for is it more polite to say "I'd like to" instead of "I want to"... well it kind of depends on the context- for example "I want to learn Spanish" "I'd like to learn Spanish" the difference doesn't really matter... "I would like it if you'd help me" sounds better (and more polite) than "I want you to help me" although a native speaker would most probably not take offense to you having said the latter...
June 18, 2019
Isaac, thank you so much for your help! Oh, so I'll use "I wanted to ", but I'll remember the phrase, "I would've liked to". It's the first thime I've heard of it!
June 18, 2019
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