"The mango is what I want."
Translation:ʻO ka manakō koʻu makemake.
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You're definitely getting the gist of it. Words used as verbs in simple verb sentences will be at the beginning of the sentence. Words used as nouns usually (a lot of the time, anyway) have some marker like "ka", "ke", "koʻu", "kēia" before them. You're totally correct that "I wish/want/like/desire" -> "Makemake au" and that "my wish/desire" -> "koʻu makemake".
Mahalo nui for bringing up this topic in the forums, because I'm sure many others are wondering the same thing. It's a little tricky, because there are two different "ʻo"s.
The ʻami piko "ʻo" - Used when talking about proper nouns. But there are no proper nouns in the sentence "ʻO ka manakō koʻu makemake." So what kind of "ʻo" is being used here???
It is the ʻami ʻaike "ʻo" - Used in the pepeke ʻaike ʻo, a sentence pattern that is used to indicate that two things are "equivalent". "ʻO ka manakō koʻu makemake" is an example of this kind of sentence, where the two parts are "ka manakō" and "koʻu makemake". Another aspect that can be confusing is that you will also see sentences like "ʻO Keoki koʻu kumu". -> "My teacher is Keoki" or "Keoki is my teacher", where the two different "ʻo"s (one for the pronoun and one for equivalence) are in the same position and seem to overlap each other, becoming only one "ʻo". You might also see a sentence like "ʻO koʻu kumu ʻo Keoki", where you would clearly see both "ʻo"s playing their different roles in a single sentence.
Mind boggled yet? :)
Well, there is another kind of equivalence sentence pattern, and that is the pepeke ʻaike "he", which is like the pepeke ʻaike "ʻo", but, where the things connected to "ʻo" are more "specific" (expressing "am the", "are my", "is that", etc.), the things connected to "he" are more "general" (expressing "am a", "are a", "is an", etc.).
Hope that helps a bit!