One of the most common grammar mistakes involves adding an apostrophe where none is needed.
So do you need an apostrophe to spell want?
The short answer is no—you should never include an apostrophe in the word want. Wan’t is a common misspelling in American English, but it isn’t a real word.
This article will explain why there’s no apostrophe in want.
Want vs Wan’t Definitions
Want is a verb that means “have a desire to do something,” or a noun that means “a desire for something.”
For example, you might say “I want to go home.” In this sentence, you’re expressing your desire to go home.
A common slang term for want to is the word wanna. In informal contexts, you might say “I wanna go home.”
Wan’t with an apostrophe doesn’t have a definition, because it isn’t a real word—it’s just a common misspelling!
When Are Words Formed with an Apostrophe?
We use apostrophes whenever we create a contraction of two words, whether by combining their first syllables or by combining certain letters from each word.
For example, don’t requires an apostrophe because it’s a contraction of do and not. The apostrophe replaces the O in not.
Similarly, won’t requires an apostrophe because it’s a contraction of will and not. Again, the apostrophe is required to replace the O in not.
The difference between won’t and want is that want is a verb that’s a complete word on its own. It’s not two words formed into a contraction. Therefore, wan’t is just a common misspelling.
Want Examples in Sentences
The best way to learn spelling is to see examples in sentences. Here are some examples of want from successful English books.
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”—Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.”—C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”—Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want.”—Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”—George Orwell, 1984
Conclusion: Wan’t or Want
Use want in your writing every time.
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