I live in Japan, and we translate these two into much the same, a sentence with which you recommend something:

Might as well ...

Might want to ...

Can they be replaced each other? Or could you tell me how you distinguish them? For example:

  1. I (might as well/might want to) have coffee if I want to stay awake, since I will be studying late tonight.

  2. I (might as well/might want to) have coffee, since you just brewed a fresh pot.

  3. I (might as well/might want to) have coffee to stay awake because if I don't have it, I will definitely fall asleep.

  4. I (might as well/might want to) have coffee because it helps me stay awake.

  5. I (might as well/might want to) have coffee because I'm tired and need to stay awake.

  • 1
    I think you should provide examples. Jan 19, 2017 at 12:17
  • 1
    Consider the following examples: 1. "You don't even like meat. you might as well go vegan!" 2. "Do you think killing animals for food is bad? You might want to go vegan!"
    – MorganFR
    Jan 19, 2017 at 13:12
  • I'm puzzled - how will putting should, must or had better in the examples help you learn about the difference between might as well and might want to?
    – Lucky
    Jan 19, 2017 at 13:49
  • I'm sorry. I should mention it. We translate them all pretty the same, so I'd like to know the difference. Jan 19, 2017 at 13:51
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    There are simply too many different usages being asked about here. What do you currently know about the difference between You might as well kill me and You might want to kill me, for example? Or the difference between You must do it and You should do it? Jan 19, 2017 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


Because this is an English site I'll avoid using any Japanese, but I don't think these are really the same when translated.

"I might as well" suggests that you don't really need something (or need to do something), but it might be a good idea anyway. For example:

I have a couple of hours before I have to drive home, so I might as well take a nap.

"I might want to have" suggests that you don't know if you want it yet, but in the future you might make a decision.

I'm not sleepy now, but I might want to have coffee later to keep me awake while I drive.

Hopefully this clears up the confusion.

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