I want car-washing.

I am wondering whether this sentence is OK in any context, i.e. one in which it would make sense.

Also, what is your interpretation of the meaning?

  • You are using "car-washing" as a noun. What does it mean to you? As written it doesn't make any sense in any context. But whatever it is, you want it.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 22:39

2 Answers 2


"Car-Washing" becomes a noun here. It is a thing that you want.

These two hyphenated examples have become nouns:
Your teacher may require note-taking.
Your doctor may discourage nail-biting.

The speaker of this sentence is asking for the act of washing cars to take place.

  • 1
    But I can't imagine someone saying the phrase in the question as written. Also in your examples "-" isn't necessary or (in my opinion) normally used.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 23:51
  • 2
    @user3169 Scenario: Father asks the family if they want to help him wash the car before going to the drive-in theater Mom says "I think we should wash the car." Son says, "Yes, car-washing gets my vote!" Daughter says, "I want car-washing!"
    – Chowzen
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 0:07
  • Thank you, Chowzen. Your examples are super to help my understanding further.
    – Joe Kim
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 3:22
  • Though I agree with Max's answer regarding what sounds best (most natural), I also agree with Chowzen's technical assessment. I also appreciate Chowzen's similar examples. The only thing I really saw very wrong with the sentence was the lack of a period at the end. However, as Max noted, if you're just trying to communicate more clearly, Joe Kim's sentence is not the way how native speakers commonly phrase things. That doesn't mean Joe Kim's sentence violated any specific rules, though.
    – TOOGAM
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 4:03
  • Thank you all for the help. If this sounds a bit strange, then can the same meaning be said like this: I want a car-wash (This is a "a+verb form). What do you think?
    – Joe Kim
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 3:50

It's been pointed out that car-washing is a noun.

Without further context, my first impression was that "I want car-washing." sounded like broken English. It sounds like the speaker intended to say I want my car washed.

Does it fit in any context?

No. Does it fit in some context? Yes. Imagine a car wash business with lazy workers that are chatting too much. The manager is frustrated with the workers and exclaims

I don't want chatting, I want car-washing!

I personally feel that it still sounds strange, even with context, but it is possible.

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