If I want to say, I want that, what do I say?

Ich will das.
Ich es will.
Das will ich.

Which one is the most correct? (And the most used, too.)

  • 1
    First there's nothing 'most correct'. I always find myself asking the same question but it's nonsense for good reason.
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 17:24
  • In addition to the good answer, 'I want that' is literally 'Ich will das' and 'I want it' is literally 'Ich will es'. In German you can also say 'Das will ich' which is 'That's what I want.' ('Das ists was ich will') I think you cannot shorten in English. (a subordinate class notwithstanding)
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 17:26
  • @Em1 There is always such a thing as a most correct way of saying this or that. That is why we have grammars. On the other hand, though, you are absolutely right: one can never fall into the trap of that which goes by the name of hypercorrectness.
    – indoxica
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 17:32
  • as a matter of fact it is impossible to answer that question because it depends on what "that" refers to. Does it refer to a neuter object then "es" might be better (but not always), if it refers to a whole sentence then "es" won't work that well in most situations. Here is an example sentence: "Willst du, dass ich dich jeden Tag anrufe?" "Ja, ich will das"... you can't really use "es" here. So ... the second version is clearly wrong, as for the other 2... impossible to say without context
    – Emanuel
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 20:32

2 Answers 2


I think that 'I want that' is

Ich will das.
Ich will es.
Das will ich.

The three are correct, but the last one is used to emphasize the object: Das ist was ich will.
'Ich es will' is not correct.

It might sound not so nice to say that, for instance, if you want to buy or order something. I'd rather say 'Ich hätte gerne' (objekt in Akk.)

  • It was pretty difficult to read this; hence, I put the sentences in a quote block. I usually use italic for a single word, most likely if it the word in question, or for an example which is clearly noticeable as an example (e.g. behind a colon).
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 17:22
  • if "that" refers to an action that has been specified in a sentence before then "es" is not going to work well..
    – Emanuel
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 7:38

I want that = Ich will / möchte das | Das will / möchte ich

I want that = Ich will / möchte das/es.

If you want to express, that you would like to have or do something, it's more common to say:

Ich hätte / würde gern ...

In some cases

"I want that"

could also be translated with

"(Ja) gern!"

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