I want snacking.

Is this correct to say?

You want to eat something or have some snack is the intended meaning.

  • 1
    "Snacking" means "a particular action of eating a snack". That seems like a strange thing to want. – stangdon Sep 8 '16 at 20:01
  • 2
    @JoeKim Asking a separate question about each gerund in English will take you a very long time. If you gain an understanding of what the gerund is, and how we use it in English, that will answer all of them at once! – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Sep 8 '16 at 20:58

Want meaning ‘wish’ or ‘desire’
We always follow want with a complement of some kind. The complement completes the meaning of the clause. The complement can be a noun or pronoun as an object, or a verb in the to-infinitive form, or an object plus a verb in the to-infinitive form:

  • This is a new kind of fruit juice I got. D’you want to try it? (to-infinitive)

So according to this, it is fine to say

I want to snack.

You can stick an "on something" at the end

I want to snack on something.

There are other alternatives, as have already been mentioned. Another is

I want to have a snack.

In contrast, "snacking" is likely to be understood to be an instance of eating a snack, and wanting that does not really make sense. Further, want +Ving can indicate need.

Want meaning ‘need’
We can use want with the -ing form of a verb to say that something is necessary or should be done. This usage is quite informal:

  • Your hair wants cutting. (needs to be cut)
  • That cupboard wants clearing out.
| improve this answer | |


I want a snack.


I feel like a snack.


I feel like snacking.

Saying "I want snacking" will mark you as a non-native speaker of English. Mind you, a native speaker could get away with that, but the statement would be viewed as humorous or outré for other reasons. Which you would probably not be able to carry off.

| improve this answer | |

As a general rule you can only say 'I want' with the -ing form of a verb which 'takes an object' (a transitive verb). For example the verb 'to feed' is transitive because you can say 'I fed my dog' where 'dog' is the object. Because of this you can say 'I want feeding'.

However the verb 'to snack' cannot take an object (it is an intransitive verb). You cannot say 'I snacked the dog' because that makes no sense. For this reason you can't say 'I want snacking'.

| improve this answer | |

The gerund "snacking" is part noun and part verb. You want a noun.

Since you want the action of eating, the verb "want" is transitive in your sentence and takes an object [indirect object and/or direct object].

The infinitive phrase "to snack" is a noun. I'll link what an infinitive phrase is.

BETTER: I want to snack.

If you use the gerund, it would be like this: Buying a new car is fun! I want buying a new car. BETTER: I want to buy a new car.



| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.