English Lesson: Want to & Want a Vs. Wanna

MichaelAD Uncategorized 19 Comments

The other day we looked at gonna, the casual pronunciation of going to. Today, I want to talk about a similar word – wanna. Wanna is the casual pronunciation of both want to and want a. I am sure you have heard this before. However, what you might not know is that there are times when we can and cannot use such pronunciation. Today I want to talk about this with you.

We pronounce want to as wanna when we talk about the first and second person (I, you, we, they) but not the third person (he, she, it). The structure is want to + verb.  Here are some examples:

  • I want to eat pizza for lunch. I wanna eat pizza for lunch. (wanna = want to)
  • I think you want to eat pizza for lunch, too. I think you wanna eat pizza for lunch, too. (wanna = want to)
  • Jack wants to* eat pizza for lunch → Jack wanna to eat pizza for lunch. (wanna ≠ want to)

         *Since we use the third person “s” we cannot use wanna to mean wants to

We also pronounce want a as wanna when we talk about the first and second person (I, you, we, they) but not the third person (he, she, it). The structure is want a + noun. Here are some examples:

  • I want a new computer. → I wanna new computer. (wanna = want a)
  • I think you want a new computer, too. → I think you wanna new computer, too. (wanna = want a)
  • Jack wants a new computer, too. → Jack wanna new computer, too. (wanna  ≠ want a)

So, please remember this → When you have the verb in the third person – wants –  you can not use wanna.

Well, I hope this was helpful. Thanks for studying today and remember to send me your suggestions for a one-point lesson you want to see here.

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Comments 19

    1. Post
      Author

      “you wanna pinguin to sing” is “Do you want a penguin to sing?” (any penguin)
      “you want pinguin to sing?” is “Do you want the penguin who is here to sing”
      I hope that helps!

  1. I am surprised that you didn’t finish your lesson by shifting the third person conjugation “wants to” to “wansta”. You know, like “monsta”, as in “Da monsta wansta haunts da gangsta.”

  2. so here is my doubt….my boss says that it is correct to say

    ” i am going to marry you whether you want or not”

    i say

    ” i am going to marry you whether you want TO or not”

    i am certain i am correct but don´t know how to explain it to him… we teach english in Mexico.. please help me!

    1. Hi Erik
      I’m sorry to disagree with your boss, but ” i am going to marry you whether you want TO or not” is correct
      We don’t use the phrase “whether you want or not” It should be, “whether you want to or not”

      1. WELL, he says that there is no need to repeat TO when TO is referring to MARRY. however, i can´t explain it to him, I just know i´m right.

        thank you and have a wonderful day!

        1. You can say, “You can take a cookie if you want” or “You can take a cookie if you want to”.

          However we do not say, “…if you want or not”

          The correct phrase using “or not” is “…if you want to or not.”

          I hope that helps

  3. A useful lesson, thanks. I am confused about wanna and want to. As one of my English teacher said I have to pronounce want to and going to while I am having a presentation or public speech, otherwise, it makes me look not well educated and likes street talk. But on the other hand, some said no native speaker said ” want to” except written in paper. What is it in your opinion?

    1. Hi. Thanks for asking. I can’t say for sure what speakers of British or Australian or Canadian English would do, but even when giving a presentation, I would probably still pronounce “I want to” as “I wanna,” simply because I am a native speaker of American English and that is the natural way we speak.

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