Most of the dictionaries online do not list 'wanting' as the present participle of 'want'. It just means 'lacking' in general it seems. However some dictionaries do and I am wondering if the 'wanting' is ever actually used as the present participle of 'want'.

  • 1
    english.stackexchange.com/questions/110817/wanting-or-want You might want to read this question. Apr 4, 2020 at 7:05
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    The only Standard English usage which comes to mind is "He's wanting to go out" when talking of a dog.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 4, 2020 at 7:10
  • 5
    Not wanting to offend, I said nothing. Apr 4, 2020 at 8:31
  • The usage exists in regional UK dialects/variations (I went out with someone from Yorkshire). Passenger to ticket clerk: a ticket to Leeds please. Clerk: when are you wanting to travel? Apr 4, 2020 at 9:13
  • This curry wants something. Ah, I know! I forgot the celery. Apr 4, 2020 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


As far as I know, every English verb with an infinitive form also has a “gerund-participle” (a single form traditionally called either a "present participle" or a "gerund" depending on its use) formed by adding -ing to the infinitive form (sometimes with certain spelling changes). Because this is such a regular and predictable part of English grammar, many dictionaries may not explicitly list this; others do. When a dictionary does not list this form of a verb, it is not saying that the form does not exist.

The verb want does have a gerund-participle form wanting. Wanting is additionally used as an adjective: the existence and meaning of -ing adjectives is less regular and less predictable than the existence and meaning of -ing verb forms, so dictionaries are more likely to include explanations of -ing adjectives.

The "present participle" is used in the progressive or continuous construction, and also in some other contexts. Some verbs aren't used very often in the progressive, but they still have present participle forms.


You can use wanting in the following way as the present participle:

I've been wanting to tell you something for a long time.

This means that your want to tell him/her started a long time ago and you still want to tell him/her something.

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