Modal verb 想 indicates a desire to take some kind of action.
It can be used with an adverb of degree, e.g. 很 or 真 .
He really wants to buy this book.
tā hěn xiǎng mǎi zhè běn shū
I would like to invite you to the restaurant
wǒ xiǎng qǐng nǐ qù yī jiā cānguǎn
To make a negation we should use the negative particle 不 before the modal verb.
We can not use the negative particle 没 with modal verbs.
I didn't want to go. He made me go
wǒ bù xiǎng qù, tā ràng wǒ qù le
The main verb 想
As a main verb, 想 has several different meanings. The most common are:
1) "to miss someone or something", "to think of someone or something".
The main verb often comes with the suffix 着 :
I miss my family
wǒ xiǎng wǒ de jiārén
I will always think of you
wǒ huì yìzhí xiǎngzhe nǐ
When used in this way, 想 is usually a part of the word 想念 .
2) “to think about”, "to contemplate“.
Let me think about it
ràng wǒ xiǎng yì xiǎng
Remember the common phrase 想起来 .
When describing a certain result of an action, 想 is often used with the verb complements 到 and 好:
She was struck by the sudden thought that he might already have left
tā túrán xiǎngdào tā kěnéng yǐjīng líqù
I've got it all figured out
wǒ shénme dōu xiǎnghǎo le
3) "to think", "to consider".
I think it costs a lot of money
wǒ xiǎng zhè zhí hěnduō qián
要 can also be a modal verb and a main verb.
The modal verb 要
The modal verb 要 has a few meanings:
1) "to intend".
Expresses an intention to do something.
Adverbs of degree cannot be used before the modal verb 要.
In this meaning 要 and 想 are similar, but while 想 expresses a desire to do something, 要 indicates intention.
Are you going to read that novel?
nǐ yào kàn nà běn xiǎoshuō ma
My friends are going to watch a movie on the weekend
zhōumò wǒ de péngyou dōu yào qù diànyǐngyuàn kàn diànyǐng
In sentences about the future, 要 is not needed if no plans are indicated.
She isn’t traveling tomorrow
míngtiān tā bú qù lǚyóu
Negative forms of 要 are 不想 and 不愿意 .
We don’t use 不要 in this meaning.
I don’t want to read that novel
wǒ bù xiǎng kàn nà běn xiǎoshuō
They don’t want to go to the movie theatre
tāmen bú yuànyì qù diànyǐngyuàn kàn diànyǐng
2) "have to", "need to".
Indicates a necessity to do or not do something because of specific reasons or factors. To emphasize the meaning the adverb 一定 can be added before 要 but cannot go after the modal verb.
You have to calm down
nǐ yào lěngjìng xiàlái
You have to go to the library to get a textbook
nǐ yào qù túshūguǎn jiè yì běn kèběn
Negative forms of this modal verb are 不用 , 不要 , 别 .
别 is often used when addressing someone.
不要 is used when forbidding.
Primary school students don’t need to study chemistry
xiǎoxuéshēng dōu bú yòng xué huàxué
Please, don’t talk in the classroom
qǐng bié zài jiàoshì lǐ shuōhuà
Smoking is prohibited here
zhèlǐ bú yào chōuyān
3) "will do".
Indicates the possibility of an action.
Similar to 可能 and 会 but has more affirmative tone.
He promised to love her forever.
tā xǔnuò yào yǒngyuǎn ài tā
The main verb 要
要 as a main verb contains the meaning of “to ask, to want” or “to order”. It is followed by a direct object in a sentence.
Usually it’s an object or an abstract idea.
What would you like to order?
nǐmen yào shénme
I want green tea
wǒ yào yì bēi lǜchá
Sometimes 要 translates as “to need something”.
He still needs that money
nà bǐ qián tā hái yào
The verb 想要
You can put 要 and 想 together to make the word 想要 .
It can be either a modal verb or a semantic verb.