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    #1

    Why say "I wanted to..."

    Hi Teacher,

    I often hear people saying "I wanted to tell you that...." or "I was going to remind you that ...." in conversation. Is that a correct grammar ? It seems to me the correct grammar should be present tense instead, such as "I want to tell you that...." since the speaker still has the intention when he speaks. Please clarify. Thanks!

    Chibe

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    #2

    Re: Why say "I wanted to..."

    People often use the past tense in conversation as a way of showing politeness; it sounds less direct. 'I was going to remind you' sounds more tentative and suggests that maybe the other person didn't need reminding.

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    #3

    Re: Why say "I wanted to..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    People often use the past tense in conversation as a way of showing politeness; it sounds less direct. 'I was going to remind you' sounds more tentative and suggests that maybe the other person didn't need reminding.
    I would only use "wanted" if I mean that I wanted to tell someone something but told him at a later time instead.

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    #4

    Re: Why say "I wanted to..."

    And what does your personal preference have to do with English usage? The past tense is regularly used to create a social distance and show politeness.

  1. Noego's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Why say "I wanted to..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    And what does your personal preference have to do with English usage? The past tense is regularly used to create a social distance and show politeness.


    Wow, that's unexpected.

    I would only use "wanted" if I mean that I wanted to tell someone something but told him at a later time instead.
    It's also a good explanation isn't?

    I think you're both right!

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Why say "I wanted to..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    And what does your personal preference have to do with English usage? The past tense is regularly used to create a social distance and show politeness.
    But also, in this case, I feel that "I wanted to say" hints at the meaning of 'I've been meaning to say' - so it's polite, but it also refers to a state leading to the present.



    b


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    #7

    Re: Why say "I wanted to..."

    astate leading to present


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    #8

    Re: Why say "I wanted to..."

    I can use past tense to express myself with politeness !This is good to know....something new I learned today. In the past, I only learned about the mechanics of english usage. Today, I found out there is more to it....interesting

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