if ‘avoir envie de’ can be used as an alternative to ‘avoir besoin de’ for saying ‘needs to go to the bathroom’, why can’t it also be used for ‘needs to take a day off’? Isn’t it all down to context in both cases?
The general meaning of the two phrases is this:
avoir envie -- to have the desire to / to want toJ'ai envie de me promener. -- I want to take a walk.
avoir besoin -- to have the need toJ'ai besoin d'une nouvelle voiture. -- I need a new car.J'ai besoin d'un jour de congé. -- I need to take a day off.
That said, there are some cases where French people say things differently than you would in English. For example:
J'ai envie de vomir. -- I need to vomit. / I'm nauseous / I feel like throwing up.J'ai envie d'aller aux toilettes. -- I need to go to the bathroom.
In these cases, you use avoir envie even though you don't have the desire to do these things. It's just the way French say these things.
You are correct it absolutely does depend on the context.
This link above does not exactly match your query but may help somewhat for you.
Chris is spot on!
We've looked at the lesson on "avoir envie de" and we'll be reviewing it so as to avoid this confusion.
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
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