Why did he use a past tense for "wanted"?
Although it seems like it would make more sense to use the present tense because the speaker is in the middle of completing the action, it is actually quite common for native English speakers to use "wanted to" in situations like these. It is common to use the past tense when asking questions or for favors. Although the speaker is using the past tense, they are asking a question that they are curious about in the present. Keep in mind that this is only appropriate for casual situations. Ex: I wanted to ask if you were free to watch a movie this weekend. Ex: I wanted to ask you a question. Ex: I wanted to see if you were available next week.
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