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Thread: Want To

  1. banderas's Avatar
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    Want To

    I sometimes hear sentences like "you can do it if you want" and sometimes "....if you want TO".
    What is the function of "to" in this context and why we sometimes add it and sometimes omit it?
    Thanks for explaining it if you want to do so.

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    Re: Want To

    'To' represents the infinitive phrase 'to do it' in this sentence. I know that after some verbs it can be dropped. 'Want' is one of them.

  2. Senior Member
    English Teacher
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    Re: Want To

    Dear Banderas:

    'Bobby, please clean your room.'
    'I don't want to (clean my room).'

    And of course you will very often hear, "I dont' wanna,' which is Lazyspeak for 'want to'.

    Why? I don't know. (or, dunno, in Lazyspeak)

    The same idea occurs with verbs other than 'want,' as in this usage:

    'May I sit here?'
    'Oh, certainly. Sit wherever you would like (to)(sit).'

    and then there are the 'going to'/ 'about to' forms:

    'Have you read the paper this evening?'
    'I was just going to (read it).'

    'Have you done your homework?'
    I was just about to (do it).'

    I believe adding/omitting the 'to' is usually a matter of preference and habit, although in the last two examples, the 'to' is necessary.

    Here's hoping someone more knowledgeable than I will want to explain the workings of this form.

    best wishes,



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