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Dutch Verb Willen ('to want, wish, desire, would like to') - Smartphones Page

Conjugation
Sample Sentences
Related Words
'Willen' is a weak verb - not what you'd expect of such a common verb.
For the Dutch W, keep lips relaxed, not rounded like in English W; Dutch W starts with the top of the lower lip touching the front upper teeth, but without clearly blowing out air like for a V or F. The sound is formed in the back of the mouth, and not in the front like English W - more
Wij willen water click to hear We want water

Conjugation

Overview:
willen to want (etc.)
ik wil I want
wij willen we want
ik wilde I wanted
wij wilden we wanted
ik heb gewild I have wanted
click to hear

The Simple Present Tense:

willen to want
ik wil I want
jij wilt you (singular, informal) want
hij wil he wants
wij willen we want
jullie willen you (plural, informal) want
zij willen they
U wilt you (polite) want
click to hear
Do notice that there is no T for the third person singular: hij wil click to hear 2 3 but there is the regular T for the second person singular je wilt click to hear 2

The Simple Past Tense:

(willen) to want
ik wilde I wanted
jij wilde you wanted
hij wilde he wanted
wij wilden we wanted
jullie wilden y'all wanted
zij wilden they wanted
U wilde you wanted
click to hear
Though principal meanings diverged, 'willen' and the English auxiliary verb for the future tense 'will' are from the same root. (Dutch has zullen click to hear as the auxiliary verb for the future tense.) You can see the connection of the verbs in the probably old 'strong' forms of informal speech 'wou' and 'wouden' for the simple past tense.
ik wou click to hear I wanted - more below
wij wouden click to hear 2 we wanted

The Perfect Tense:
ik heb gewild click to hear I have wanted, desired
The present perfect tense is very unusual, but the past perfect tense may be found for hoped-for outcomes that didn't happen, unfulfilled wishes:
ik had gewild ... click to hear 2 I had wanted to ...

Sample Sentences

Dus je wilt Nederlands leren? click to hear
So you want to learn Dutch?
Ik wil Nederlands leren click to hear 2 3
I want to learn Dutch
Ik wil graag Nederlands praten click to hear 2 3
~ I really want to speak Dutch

Ik wil een nieuwe fiets click to hear 2
I want a new bicycle
Ik wil een groter huis click to hear 2 3
I would like a bigger house

Ik wil een vrije dag click to hear 2
Ik wil een dag vrij click to hear 2
[I want a free day, a day free] - I want a day off

Ik wil geen brood click to hear 2 3
I don't want bread (not a polite thing to say!)
Ik wil geen feest click to hear 2 3
I don't want a party

Wil je een kopje thee? click to hear 2
Would you like a cup of tea?
Ja, graag click to hear 2
Yes, please (informal)
Nee, dank je click to hear 2
No, thank you (informal) - more

Wil je koffie of thee of iets fris? click to hear 2 3
Would you like coffee or tea or [something 'fresh'] - juice or soda?

Wil je kaas of ham op je brood? click to hear
Would you like cheese or ham on your sandwich?

Wil je iets toe? click to hear 2 3
Would you like [something to finish] dessert?

Wilt U een bonnetje? click to hear 2 3
Would you like a (cash register) receipt?

Ik wil niet meer click to hear 2
[I don't want any more] - I don't want to go on

Wil je meezingen? click to hear
Would you like to sing along? (singular 'you')
Willen jullie meezingen? click to hear
Would you guys like to sing along?

Als jullie niet willen meewerken ... click to hear 2
If you guys don't want to cooperate ...

Ik wil 't weten click to hear 2
I want to know [it]
Ik wil 't goed doen click to hear 2 3
I want to do it well, I want to do a good job

Wil je wat eten? click to hear
Would you like to eat something? Would you like some food? Are you hungry?
Wil je wat drinken? click to hear 2
Would you like something to drink? Are you thirsty?
Wat wil je drinken? click to hear 2
What would you like to drink?
Wat wil je horen? click to hear
What would you like to hear? (music choice)
Wat wil je weten? click to hear
What would you like to know? What do you need to know?

Wat wil je later worden? click to hear
What do you [later] want to be when you grow up?

Ik wil weten hoe 't afloopt click to hear 2
I want to know how it ends (a story, a movie etc.)

Wil je blijven eten? click to hear 2 3 (4)
Would you like to stay for dinner? (or another meal)
Wil je een keer bij mij komen eten? click to hear 2 3
Would you like to have dinner (or another meal) at my house sometime?

Ik wil er nog even over nadenken click to hear 2 3
I want (need?) some time to think about it
Ik wil er nog een nachtje over slapen click to hear 2
I'd like to sleep on it, take a decision or let you know my answer tomorrow

Ik wil weten wat er gebeurd is click to hear 2 3
I want to know what happened
Ik wil precies weten wat er gebeurd is click to hear 2 3
I want to know exactly what happened
Ik wil weten wat er precies gebeurd is click to hear 2 3
I want to know what exactly happened

Ik wil er niks mee te maken hebben click to hear 2 3
[I want nothing ...] - I don't want to have anything to do with it

Ik wil je niet van je werk houden click to hear 2 3
I don't want to keep you from your work

Ik wil ook nog een keer naar Amerika click to hear
I would (also) like to visit the US sometime ('America')
Ik wil nòg een keer naar Jeruzalem click to hear 2 3
I would like to visit Jerusalem again
nòg 'n click to hear 2 'another'
- stressing 'nog' click to hear changes the meaning of 'nog een keer' from 'sometime' to 'again, another time'
Wie weet er nog een mop? click to hear
Who [knows] has a joke to tell?
Wie weet er nòg een mop? click to hear 2
Who still [knows] has another joke to tell? (a group of people have been cracking jokes but they have gone quiet)

Ik wil geen vlees eten click to hear 2
I don't want to eat meat
Ik wil liever geen vlees eten click to hear 2 3
I'd rather not eat meat

Wilt U via een tolk spreken? click to hear 2
Would you like to speak through an interpreter?
Wilt U liever met een tolk spreken? click to hear 2
Would you rather, would you prefer to speak through an interpreter?

Ik wil niet dat iemand me ziet click to hear
I don't want anybody to see me
Ik wil niks verloren laten gaan click to hear 2
[I want nothing] I don't want anything to go to waste

April doet wat-ie wil click to hear 2
'April does as it likes' - April weather is unpredictable
Hij doet toch wat-ie wil click to hear 2
He does as he likes anyway

Hij wilde niet naar de radio luisteren click to hear 2
He didn't want to listen to the radio

Het was niet wat hij wilde horen click to hear
It was not what he wanted, had hoped to hear - unwelcome news, unwelcome opinions

Kom je binnen of wil je buiten blijven? click to hear
Are you coming inside or would you rather stay outside?

Ik wil het best wel vertellen hoor click to hear 2 3 4
[I am certainly willing to tell you] - I don't mind telling you

Ik zou wel eens willen weten ... click to hear 2
Sometime I would like to know, find out ...

Polite and friendly questions often combine 'willen' click to hear 2 with 'zou U' click to hear 2 or 'zou je' click to hear 2 - translated in English as 'Could you please' or 'Would you mind' - more

Zou je alsjeblieft Nederlands willen spreken? click to hear
Could you please speak Dutch? (informal 'you')
Zou U alstublieft Nederlands willen spreken? click to hear
Could you please speak Dutch? (polite 'you')
Zou U dat nog eens willen zeggen? click to hear (2)
[Could you please say that once again?] - Would you mind repeating that?
Zou U wat langzamer willen spreken? click to hear 2
Would you mind speaking a little slower?
Zou U wat langzamer kunnen praten? click to hear
[Could you please ] Would you mind talking a little slower?

Ik wil naar huis click to hear 2
[I want homeward] I want to go home
Ik wil niet naar Arnhem click to hear 2
I don't want to go to Arnhem
(Note that Dutch can leave out the 'gaan'/to go )

Ik wil gaan wandelen click to hear
I want to go [walking] for a walk
Ik wil gaan zwemmen click to hear
I want to go [swimming] for a swim
Morgen wil ik gaan hardlopen click to hear 2
Tomorrow I want to go running
Ze wilde gaan zwemmen click to hear 2 3
She wanted to go swimming

The informal ik wou click to hear usually expresses regret, a vain hope, something that's not likely to happen or something impossible, and not that it happened in the past. In more formal speech this is ik zou willen click to hear
English usually has this as the present tense of 'to wish:' I wish ...

Ik wou dat er een betere oplossing was click to hear
I wish there was a better solution
Ik wou dat er een betere manier was click to hear 2 3
I wish there was a better way (to do something)
Ik wou dat 't voorbij was click to hear 2 3
I wish it was over
Ik wou dat 't nooit gebeurd was click to hear 2
I wish it had never happened

To express the regret etc. in the previous examples, you could also use the simple past ik wilde click to hear 2 or the 'conditional' ik zou willen click to hear but ik wou click to hear is more common.

Ik wilde dat ik harder kon schoppen click to hear
Ik zou willen dat ik harder kon schoppen click to hear (2)
Ik wou dat ik harder kon schoppen click to hear 2
I wish I could kick (the ball) harder - soccer

But in common slang, ik wou click to hear is just used as the simple past, instead of ik wilde click to hear 2

Krek wa'k wou click to hear 2
'Just what I wanted, exadctly what I was looking for
In proper speech, this is said as:
Precies wat ik wilde click to hear 2
Exactly what I wanted
Precies wat ik nodig had click to hear 2 3
Exactly what I needed - 'it hit the spot'

'Had willen' click to hear 2 3 is often said for a hoped-for or planned outcome that unfortunately didn't happen, or for a hypothetical situation

Ik had harder willen schoppen click to hear
I had wanted to kick harder
Ik had de bal harder willen schoppen click to hear
I had wanted to kick the ball harder

Ik had schrijver willen worden, maar ik ben spreker geworden click to hear
I wanted to be a writer, but I've become a speaker

Ik had willen blijven liggen click to hear 2 3
I had wanted to [remain lying down] stay in bed

Ik had je gisteren willen waarschuwen click to hear 2
I had wanted to warn you yesterday, I was going to warn you but it didn't happen

Ik denk niet dat hij naar ons had willen luisteren click to hear 2
I don't think he had been willing to listen to us

from 'Miracle on 34th Street:'
Zeg maar wat je zou willen hebben van Sinterklaas click to hear 2
[Just say] Tell me what you would like to have (receive) from Santa
Ik wil alleen maar bij deze lieve mevrouw blijven click to hear 2
[I want only] All I want is to stay with this kind lady

Wat wil je hebben? click to hear 2
What would you like? (to have, receive)
Wat wil je hebben voor je verjaardag? click to hear
What would you like for you birthday?
Wat wil je voor je verjaardag hebben? click to hear 2
What would you like for you birthday?

Ik wilde je net roepen click to hear 2 3
I was about to, I was going to call your name

't Wil maar niet lukken click to hear 2 3
It just will not succeed, we're having trouble getting it to work

Related Words

The noun '(de) wil' click to hear 'will' -- a feeling what you want to do and/or what you don't want to do, the drive behind your actions -- like in English the word is becoming old-fashioned, formal, not much used in common speech.
English 'will,' a document stating what to do with a person's possessions after death is (het) testament click to hear 2

(de) wilskracht click to hear 2 3 willpower - note the inserted S - it's an old-fashioned possesive form

Uw wil geschiede click to hear 2
'Your will be done' - from 'het onzevader' click to hear 2 The Lord's Prayer

Moeders wil is wet click to hear 2
A mother's wishes are the law of the house

De wil van het volk click to hear 2 3
The will of the people

't Was tegen z'n wil click to hear 2 3
It was against his will, against his wishes, he did not want it

De wil ontbreekt click to hear 2 3 4
The will is lacking, there is no willingness

Waar een wil is, is een weg click to hear 2 3
Where there's a will, there's a way
also: Willen is kunnen click to hear 2 3 4
[Wanting to is being able to] - You can do it if you really want to
Je moet wel willen click to hear 2
Je moet 't wel willen click to hear
You have to want (it) - It's not going to happen if you do not really want it

Elk wat wils click to hear
There's something for every taste, to everyone's liking

willens en wetens click to hear 2
[deliberate and knowingly] - wittingly

't Is voor je eigen bestwil click to hear 2 3
It's for your own benefit, it's in your own interest (You'll thank me later)

(de) wens click to hear wish, desire
(de) wenselijkheid click to hear desirablility

Mijn grootste wens is ... click to hear 2 3
My greatest wish is ..., above all else I would wish ...

"Je mag drie wensen doen" click to hear 2 3
You can (may?) make 3 wishes

(het) verlangen click to hear 2 desire - think of: 'longing'
(het) verlanglijstje click to hear 2 wish list (birthday)

Maybe not related:
(de) willekeur click to hear arbitrariness, random or on a whim
willekeurig click to hear 2 / willekeurige click to hear 2 arbitrary, random

Compare: (het) toeval click to hear chance
toevallig click to hear 2 by accident, not planned

een willekeurige voorbijganger click to hear
a random passer-by, a randomly chosen passer-by
een toevallige voorbijganger click to hear
a random passer-by, a person who just happened to be passing by
- a subtle difference

The probably unrelated adjective and adverb 'wild' click to hear (wild / wilde click to hear is like English 'wild,' uncontrolled or not touched by civilization

wild zwijn click to hear 2 wild boar
wilde aardbeien click to hear wild strawberries
The noun '(het) wild' click to hear is English 'game' - meat from the hunt, meat from wild animals

(Het) woud click to hear 2 plural: wouden click to hear is 'wood,' a large, dense forest - Het Zwarte Woud click to hear 2 ('The Black Forest' in Germany)

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Gij zult niet stelen click to hear 'Thou shalt not steal'