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Need, Wish and Desire

Need is a situation of requirement of necessity which is purely because it is essential rather than desirable. A wish is a hope or desire for something. Fictionally, wishes can be used as plot devices.  Desire is a sense of longing or hoping for a person, object, or outcome. The same sense is expressed by emotions such as “craving”.

Wish and Desire are two words in the English language that are often confused. They appear to have similar meanings but strictly speaking there is some difference between the two words. Wish is often accompanied by an aspiration for something as in the expression ‘wish for happiness’. Thus, the word ‘wish’ is often followed by the preposition ‘for’. The word ‘wish’ is sometimes followed by ‘that’ which can at times be omitted as well. Observe the sentences given below:

1. I wish I could dance.

2. I wished that I was with him.

In the first sentence, the word you will find that the demonstrative pronoun ‘that’ is not used whereas it is very much used in the second sentence. The word ‘wish’ is used sometimes to suggest a demand or a want as in the sentence ‘I wish to go there’. In the sentence, the word ‘wish’ is used to suggest a want. The word ‘desire’ is used in the sense of ‘an unsatisfied longing or craving’ as in the expression ‘desire for wealth’. The word ‘desire’ in the expression gives the sense of ‘craving or longing for wealth’.

One of the main differences between the words ‘wish’ and ‘desire’ is that the quality of ‘craving’ is not found in ‘wish’ whereas the word ‘desire’ is always accompanied by the quality of ‘craving’ in its sense. A desire is often expressed. Observe the sentence ‘he expressed to marry her’. The word ‘desire’ is often followed by the preposition ‘to’ or ‘that’ as in the sentences

1. I have a desire to live in France.

2. You would desire that he is alive.

It is interesting to note that some people viewed desire as the root cause for all evil in this world. The two words should be used with care and purpose. When we say want, it is a simple desire for something that we do not possess already. A desire, on the other hand, is a more intense craving that a person has for something or someone. So the main difference between the two stem from the degree of longing. Desire being stronger and more intense, continues and grows for a longer period in comparison to a want, which can be considered as less in degree and time duration.

A want is something that you desire and something that an individual does not possess yet. Unlike a need, which is mandatory for existence such as in the case of oxygen, water, or food, wants are not mandatory for the existence. However, people have unlimited wants, and which are forever changing. This once again highlights another characteristic of a want. It is forever changing as what a person might consider as a want in this second might not be so in the next. For example, when we say,

I want to have a slab of chocolate now.

This is a want, because at this particular moment the person desires for a slab of chocolate as he or she does not have one. However, this is susceptible to change very quickly. A want emerges due to a lack or shortage of something. According to some religions, wants and desires are both considered as root causes of pain and suffering. Even when examining the world today, it is the unlimited number of wants, which make life very complex and difficult.

The word desire can be defined as a strong feeling of wanting something or someone. It is similar to a craving, which is more intense in comparison to a want. Unlike in the case of a want, a desire has a stronger degree of longing and the need for fulfillment. Unlike a want that come and passes away quickly, a desire stays a longer period. During this period, the person, who has the desire, attempts to make it a reality. For example, a person who desires to be a pianist would try to work harder and play well in order to achieve it. Also, by saying that the person desire to be a pianist rather than wants to be a pianist, brings out the strong feeling of longing and also that it has been there for a longer period of time.

The word ‘wish’ is used sometimes to suggest a demand (aspiration) or a want

A desire is a more intense craving that a person has for something or someone.

A want can be defined as a simple desire for something that one does not have already.

The main difference is that while wish is a simple aspiration while a desire is stronger and an intense feeling, this is comparatively less in the case of a want.

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