January 9, 2019 Sneaky Grammar

The Difference Between “Willing” and “Want” – Sneaky Grammar #1

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Sneaky Grammar #1 – The Meaning of “Willing”


Grammatical mistakes are very common, even experienced authors can miss one every once in a while. Usually, they are just embarrassing, but some can lead to real misunderstandings. At Writesaver we are constantly catching these issues, and we want to share the most interesting mistakes with you.


The first episode of Sneaky Grammar will cover one of our favorites: the meaning of “willing”. Because the noun form of ‘will’ can mean ‘desire’, people assume the verb form has a similar meaning as well, but it doesn’t!


The case in this video is one of the classics. You need to be careful when asking a client for feedback. They might be willing to use a pink background, but what if they really want something else? Avoid a silly misunderstanding that might affect your client’s opinion of your work by double checking your vocabulary choices.


There are many other cases where “willing” can backfire. Are you trying to schedule a meeting? They might be willing to meet on Thursday, but what if Friday is a better option? If you’re writing an informative article, don’t use ‘willing to’ to mean ‘want to’.


Now, there are cases where “willing” is the right word to use. If you’re doing a pitch and offering two alternatives, you could ask if your client is ‘willing’ to go with your favorite choice. You’ll be able to use that choice unless they have specific problems with it.


If you found our first episode helpful don’t forget to share it. Sneaky Grammar will back soon with a new common misunderstanding for you to avoid. Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section, we’re happy to answer all your grammatical doubts.


Do you have an idea for a great Sneaky Grammar episode? Email us at with the subject “Sneaky Grammar” or tweet your suggestion with #SneakyGrammar.

The meaning of willing by Writesaver


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