Infinitive with to
After want, we normally use an infinitive with to.
- I want to go. (NOT I want go.) (NOT I want going.)
- I want to come back here again.
- She wants to be a pilot.
Want cannot be followed by that-clauses, but we can use an object + infinitive structure.
- I want him to go now.
- Do you want me to make you some tea? (NOT Do you want that I make you some coffee?)
- I don’t want him to come here again.
- I want you to be my queen.
Want can be followed by an object + complement.
- We want him dead or alive.
- I want him back.
- I want the job finished by Tuesday.
When the object complement is a noun, we use to be or as before it.
- I want you to be my girlfriend.
- OR I want you as my girlfriend.
In British English, want can mean ‘need’. In this case, it can be followed by an –ing form.
- Your hair wants cutting. (= Your hair needs to be cut.)
- That carpet wants a clean. (= That carpet needs to be cleaned.)
Note that we do not use want in polite offers or requests.
- Would you like some help? (NOT Would you want some help?)