"I want something to drink."
~ほしい expresses your own desire for some object, intangible outcome to someone else. 3 keywords: Your own desire, object, and a listener
~ stem of ます + たい form means you or someone else like to do some action. 2 Keywords: you / others, and action
I like to have [ some ] tea OR I want [ some ] tea
こうちゃをのみたいです I want to drink tea
車がほしいです I like to have a car OR I want a car
車を運転したいです I want to drive a car
Note: ~ほしい can only be used by you to describe yourself, it cannot be used to describe any 2nd person, as it will need a different grammar structure
Stem of ます + たい form can be used either way for yourself to describe yourself, or others, or the other way round, does not need any special grammar
のみもの is essentially "drinking"+"thing", the same way 食べもの (food) is "eating"+"thing"
たい form refers to actions that you want to do, ~ ほしい refers to physical things or intangible objects or outcomes that you desire
my limited Japanese learning so far makes me think this would be translated as "I want a drink", but it's translated as "I want something to drink". am I missing something?
Duo has mistranslated this, the closest sentence would be "I like to have something to drink", since "I like to have a drink" in some cultures or social environments, it would mean you want an alcoholic drink like wine or beer.
Saying "I want ~" may mean similarly, but does not convey the original Japanese meaning of the unspoken understanding that the listener has the option of denying the speaker's request for whatever reason [ politely, of course ] and the speaker himself is mentally ready to have his request denied without hard feelings on both sides
Is there a way in Japanese to say something along the lines of "I want something for the purpose of drinking it." as that is a lot closer to what the given English phrase means than "I want a beverage." is.
Is not accepted, but the を vs が implies that you emphasize different things.
Don't give me cookies, I want a A DRINK. Should use を
I am thirsty, I WANT a drink. Should use が
However we do not know the context here, and I think both should be acceptable.