"I was wanting to..." in spoken English


A girl I know from the USA keeps saying “I was wanting to…”, like “I was wanting to possibly sign up for a membership.”

It seems quite awkward to me because I learned that the verb “want” cannot take a progressive form at school. The way she uses is just confusing me. She is a native speaker, and it sounds very polite because it is a progressive form with the past tense like “I was wondering if…”.

What nuances does the phrase “I was wanting to…” have? Is it just used by young native speakers of English or very common through generations? It seems very casual, but how about in formal situations? Besides, it is grammatically incorrect; how about in written English? Would it be acceptable? (Too many questions!!)

Thank you in advance,


Some of the verbs that traditionally used to be treated as ‘stative’ such as understanding and love have a progressive Form these days and want to is just one of them.

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