Greek Language Blog

Use of the Greek verb to want Posted by on Sep 7, 2018 in Vocabulary

The verb θέλω (to want) is one of the first verbs to learn. In this post, we will explore how it can be used in different contexts.


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θέλω: to want

it is followed by:

a) a noun

E.g: Θέλω παγωτό. / I want an ice-cream.

b) να + verb in the Subjunctive Mood

E.g: Θέλω να κολυμπάω κάθε μέρα. / I want to swim every day.


It can be also used to mean or to indicate:

a) it takes


Ο μουσακάς θέλει χρόνο. / (Cooking) mousaka takes time.

Δεν είναι εύκολο να βρεις διαμέρισμα. Θέλει πολύ ψάξιμο. / It’s not easy to find an apartment. It takes a lot of research.

b) I need / he, she, it needs


Το φαγητό θέλει λιγότερο αλάτι. / The food needs less salt.

O κάκτος δεν θέλει πολύ νερό. / Cactus doesn’t need much water.

c) to look for / to ask for


Σε θέλει η αστυνομία. / The police is asking for you.

Τι ήθελαν όλοι αυτοί στο σπίτι σου; / What did all this people ask for (at your house)?

d) the proper behavior

E.g: Αυτά τα παιδιά θέλουν ξύλο. / These children need to be spanked.


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a) Θες δε θες or θέλεις δε θέλεις: you are forced to do something

E.g: Θα έρθεις μαζί μας θες δε θες: You will come with us whether you like it or not.

We can also use the third person.

E.g: Δεν της αρέσει ο Πέτρος αλλά θέλει δε θέλει θα τον παντρευτεί. / She doesn’t like Petros but she will marry him whether she likes it or not.

b) Θέλεις…θέλεις…: it is used as a disjunctive word.

E.g: Ο Έλιοτ μάθαινε ελληνικά τρία χρόνια αλλά μετά, θέλεις από έλλειψη χρόνου, θέλεις από έλλειψη ενδιαφέροντος, σταμάτησε.

Elliot had been learning Greek for three years but later he stopped because he didn’t have the time or because he wasn’t interested.

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.


  1. Liza Howard:

    I love learning Greek and travelling there, so am looking forward to lots of tips