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General Writing and Grammar Help/I want to do something - I am willing to do something

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Question
Dear Ted:

What I meant to write was this:

Is there a difference between "I WANT to do something" and "I am willing to do something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

  
What I meant to write was this:

Is there a difference between "I WANT to do something" and "I am willing to do something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** If you WANT to do something, you feel a need to perform some activity.  Wanting is like a desire or wish.  If you ARE WILLING to do something, then you are agreeing to do it.  WANT is much stronger than simply being WILLING.

EXAMPLES:

John WANTS to be the top student in his class.
I WANT to do everything I can to help the poor and homeless people.

I AM WILLING to accompany you to Rome, if you would like a companion.
Peter was not a good player; he was WILLING TO break all the rules in order to win the game.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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