Is "I wish to" equal to "I want to"?


Is “I wish to” exactly equal to “I want to”?

I mean for example can we say “I wish to make a complaint” instead of “I want to make a complaint”?


There is a slight difference. ‘I wish to’ sounds much more formal that ‘I want to’. You say: I wish to make it clear that I do not require any further correspondence with you.

'I want to ’ has no hidden sense and simply means that you are going to say what you would like to do as in: I want to go on holiday this Christmas.


They are often equal in meaning, but they differ.

“I wish to” has a more formal air than “I want to.”

Further, whereas “wish” takes relative clauses, “want” doesn’t.

Your sentences have the same meaning, but the first feels more formal.

Generally, “wish” is far better-suited to more intangible desires than “want.”

“I wish I were a giraffe” is likelier than “I want to be a giraffe.”

In casual speech, “wish” can be stilted for mundane desires that are quite likely to happen, especially if they may happen soon. At least that’s true in American English.

Telling your mother “I wish to go to the store” is rather odd.