May be it should be phrased differently?

  • Have you ever wanted someone to teach you this subject in layman terms?
  • Did you ever wish someone could teach you this subject in layman terms?
  • Do you want someone to teach you this subject in layman terms?

What would be grammatically correct the "most"?


1 Answer 1


want intransitive verb 2: to have or feel need // never wants for friends - M-W

That is, the version in the title suggests that having a teacher is the norm, and asks about the situation where one was needed but wasn’t available. It’s an archaic use of the word want, though.

All three variants you propose carry something of an opposite sense to that: the underlying norm implied is not having such a teacher. The first two (“Have you ever ...”, “Did you ever ...”) talk about the past while the last (“Do you ...”) is an enquiry in the present tense.

Each of the 4 variants is grammatical and (in its own register) a fairly natural expression.

  • I was specially intrigued by using "for someone" vs just "someone". Is using "for" okay? Nov 12, 2018 at 11:03
  • “Want for” is an archaic way of saying “lacks”. “Not wanting for friends” means “not lacking friends”. “Not wanting friends” means something quite different. Both constructs are grammatical, but they communicate different things.
    – Lawrence
    Nov 12, 2018 at 15:51

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