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Quick answer
"Desean" is a form of "desear", a transitive verb which is often translated as "to want". "Qué desea" is a phrase which is often translated as "what he wants". Learn more about the difference between "desean" and "qué desea" below.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to long for)
a. to want
Solo deseo hacerte feliz.I just want to make you happy.
¿Qué deseas para Navidad?What do you want for Christmas?
b. to wish
El director desea hablar con usted.The director wishes to speak to you.
c. to desire
Los discursos del presidente dejan mucho que desear.The president's speeches leave a lot to be desired.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
"¿Qué desea?", preguntó el mayordomo."How can I help you?," asked the butler.
¿Desea algo de tomar?Would you like something to drink?
2. (to express a desire for)
a. to wish
Les deseé muchos años de felicidad.I wished them many years of happiness.
3. (to desire sexually)
a. to want
"Te deseo", dijo el rompecorazones de la película."I want you," said the heartbreaker in the movie.
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qué desea(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
A word or phrase used to refer to the second person formal “usted” by their conjugation or implied context (e.g. usted).
(second person singular)
a. what you want (indirect speech)
Dígame qué desea y le pondré con el departamento correspondiente.Tell me what you want and I'll put you through to the relevant department.
b. how can I help you (direct speech)
¿Y usted, qué desea? - A mí me trae un café con leche, por favor.And how can I help you? - Can I have a coffee with milk, please?
2. (third person singular)
a. what he wants (masculine)
Así que un café para usted. ¿Y su marido, le dijo qué desea tomar?So a coffee for you. And your husband? Did he say what he wants to drink?
b. what she wants (feminine)
Ella no sé qué desea, pero ahora vuelve y le puede preguntar usted mismo.I don't know what she wants, but she'll be back in a moment and you'll be able to ask her yourself.
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