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What is the difference in meaning between the following pairs?

1a) Я хочу овчарку.

1b) Мне хочется овчарку.

2a) Он так хотел новую машину!

2b) Ему так хотелось новую машину!

3a) Я захотел поесть.

3b) Мне захотелось поесть.

4a) Ребёнок захотел конфету.

4b) Ребёнку захотелось конфету.

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  • 2
    There is no difference in meaning. The sentences in every pair are totally interchangeable.
    – Abakan
    Dec 2 '15 at 8:28
  • 2
    What is the difference Quite close to "I want" vs "I would like".
    – Matt
    Dec 2 '15 at 10:04
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It's acceptable but stylistically flawed to use the impersonal construct with an identified direct object (one which you would have used with "the" in English).

You examples 1b and 4b sound a little bit peculiar out of context.

1b would have made sense in this conversation:

— Я обещал тебе на день рождения собаку. Хочешь, я куплю тебе таксу?

— Спасибо, но мне хочется овчарку.

, which makes clear it's not about any particular dog but rather the breed in general.

4b is better worded this way:

Ребёнку захотелось конфет

or

Ребёнку захотелось конфеты

, again, for the same reason.

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