Avoir envie de = To feel like, want to

The French expression avoir envie de has different meanings, such as to feel like, to want or, in some cases, to need.

To feel like / want [something]

Il fait chaud et j'ai envie d'une glace.
It's hot and I feel like an ice cream.  
It's hot and I'd like / want an ice cream.

J'ai envie de toi.
I want you. (Be careful: this would normally have amorous connotations!)

Julie vraiment envie de chocolat.
Julie really wants/craves chocolate.

To feel like / want in French, you can use the expression avoir envie de [quelque chose] (literally to have desire/want of [something]).

Note that de becomes du / de la / de l' / des depending on the gender and number of the noun following it (e.g. of the).

 

To feel like [doing something] - To want/need [to do something]

J'ai envie d'aller aux toilettes!
I want/need to go to the toilets!

On a envie de rester au lit ce matin.
We feel like staying in bed this morning.

Elle a envie de faire la cuisine.
She feels like cooking.

To express to feel like [doing something] / to want or to need [to do something], you will use avoir envie de / d' + infinitive of the verb.

 

See also the verb vouloir (to want):

Conjugate vouloir in Le Présent (present tense) 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

J'ai envie d'aller aux toilettes!
I want/need to go to the toilets!


J'ai envie de toi.
I want you. (Be careful: this would normally have amorous connotations!)


On a envie de rester au lit ce matin.
We feel like staying in bed this morning.


Julie vraiment envie de chocolat.
Julie really wants/craves chocolate.



Il fait chaud et j'ai envie d'une glace.
It's hot and I feel like an ice cream.  
It's hot and I'd like / want an ice cream.


Elle a envie de faire la cuisine.
She feels like cooking.


Q&A Forum 5 questions, 21 answers

Why is this lesson presented differently from the "Avoir besoin de" lesson?

IMHO, the presentation of "avoir envie de" in this lesson seems to be rambling and less precise than the corresponding "avoir besoin de" lesson. (They were written by the same author.)

Because of the differing presentations, it took me a couple of re-reads to realize that the construction of these expressions is actually IDENTICAL:

 - avoir besoin de + (article) + noun
 - avoir envie de + (article) + noun

and

 - avoir besoin de + infinitive
 - avoir envie de + infinitive

Note that I've replaced the unnecessary "de/d'" by the simple "de", because at this stage of a French course, I don't think anyone would ever say (or write) "J'ai besoin de un crayon". [BTW: I'm impressed by the spell checker. It flagged "de un" ! ]

The use of "parallel text" causes most Brits to prefer US courses. Although the subjects might be of equal complexity and difficulty, the Yanks use parallel text for the overhead projectors and the course notes. That seems to make the subjects seem simpler - both to learn and to remember.

BTW:  Parallel text simply means the use of identical text throughout - except for the differing key words. Look at my "besoin" and "envie" examples above. The differing key words seem to jump out of the page - as if they had been emboldened.

Thanks.

Asked 1 week ago
TomC1

I won't comment on tour formatting issues but I would take issue when you say "most Brits to prefer US courses". I have been on sites that butcher both the Fench and non-American English content , making it frustrating to be marked wrong for using perfectly good, non-American English idioms and spellings. Duolingo is a prime example of this cultural imperialism..

At least Kwiziq tries hard to provide alternitive English alternatives.

Tom said:

>>  ...I would take issue when you say "most Brits [to] prefer US courses". I have been on sites that butcher both the Fench and non-American English content 

I apologize unreservedly. I'm a retired engineer, so I had to attend techie courses by US companies both here and in the US. This excellent French course is probably my only non-work-related course.  

A possible clue to types of course is my use of "overhead slides" in my OP. I don't think many language students would sign up for a course where the instructors use overhead slides  :-)

Strangely enough, I use the Tex site for grammar, because it's highly concentrated, terse, succinct, brutally minimalist, and looks as if it were designed as a junior school project. In other words - it's an engineer's site.

It's presented as a "course" but I use only the top part of each page as a grammar reference, because the lower part contains examples which follow the armadillos "theme". I have no probs with armadillos, but the use of a theme forces the use of a restricted set which must match the theme. Kwiziq's use of short, brief random examples that stick easily in the mind is my preferred choice.

Thanks.

TomC1

Hi Alan,

I am aware of the University of Texas site and consider a valuable resource, but I've no idea what an "armadillo theme" is. :-)

Tom

Hi Tom,

Tom said:

>>  I've no idea what an "armadillo theme" is. :-)

I'm not sure if links are permitted on this forum, but here's my starting point:

http://www.laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/

The persistent banner shows "Tex", the armadillo, complete with mandatory beret and striped carapace - as is right and proper for any genuine Frenchman.

Scroll down about 20 lines and click "NOUNS: introduction".

You can see:

un tatou an armadillo

and a few lines down:

un tatou, deux tatous one armadillo, two armadillos

As I mentioned in my OP, the problem with a "theme" story is that  - to preserve continuity - the author is forced to include extraneous and unnatural vocabulary that I don't really think is useful in trying to communicate with French people. 

On the other hand, Kwiziq select their vocabulary to match the requirements of the current lesson - there's no theme or "thread" that they are forced to adhere to.

Thanks.

Why is this lesson presented differently from the "Avoir besoin de" lesson?

IMHO, the presentation of "avoir envie de" in this lesson seems to be rambling and less precise than the corresponding "avoir besoin de" lesson. (They were written by the same author.)

Because of the differing presentations, it took me a couple of re-reads to realize that the construction of these expressions is actually IDENTICAL:

 - avoir besoin de + (article) + noun
 - avoir envie de + (article) + noun

and

 - avoir besoin de + infinitive
 - avoir envie de + infinitive

Note that I've replaced the unnecessary "de/d'" by the simple "de", because at this stage of a French course, I don't think anyone would ever say (or write) "J'ai besoin de un crayon". [BTW: I'm impressed by the spell checker. It flagged "de un" ! ]

The use of "parallel text" causes most Brits to prefer US courses. Although the subjects might be of equal complexity and difficulty, the Yanks use parallel text for the overhead projectors and the course notes. That seems to make the subjects seem simpler - both to learn and to remember.

BTW:  Parallel text simply means the use of identical text throughout - except for the differing key words. Look at my "besoin" and "envie" examples above. The differing key words seem to jump out of the page - as if they had been emboldened.

Thanks.

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J’ai envie d’une nouvelle voiture ...surely that can mean BOTH I want a new car & i need a new car. My car is 24 years old ...I NEED a new car...

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Marnie,

'J'ai envie d'une nouvelle voiture' means, 'I feel like (having) a new car'. Here, it is a wish rather than a need. 

If you car is 24 years old and you feel you are in need of a new car you will say. "J'ai besoin de changer ma voiture'" or something like "Il faut (absolument) que je change ma voiture." which is a bit stronger.

Hope this helps!

Oh now I see...I need a new car would be ‘j’ai besoin d’acheter une nouvelle voiture’!
actually i do not understand.  For me it would be useful to know how often avoir envie de is used to mean ´need’ and in what context.  How is it different from ´avoir besoin dé’ .  And when does one use n’avoir envie dque ´ and when to use expressions with ´vouloir’.
But you give ´I need a new’ something in the lesson.  Perhaps that usage could be removed....?  Merci.
CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Marnie,

I can understand your wish to remove avoir envie de to mean a 'need or want to go' as you find it confusing but it is one of the meanings of 'avoir envie de' which could be very useful to anyone finding him or herself in a French speaking hospital, for instance.

Avoir envie d'uriner/d'aller à la selle = To have an urge to urinate/defecate

conveys an express need for bodily functions.

 

Thanks for clarifying...I didn’t want to remove it ...just to understand the nuances and raison d’etre For its use!
The use/différence hadn’t been explained...now it is clear.

I had the same question 

J’ai envie d’une nouvelle voiture ...surely that can mean BOTH I want a new car & i need a new car. My car is 24 years old ...I NEED a new car...

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Hi if de changes to du,de la des ... Why is it "J'ai envie de chocolat"

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer
Bonjour Alison !

In the case of fixed expressions such as "avoir envie de", you're literally saying "I have envy of [something]".
Using du, de la, de l' or des would add the definite article (de + le, la, l', les) and would be used to be more specific = I have envy of the [thing] (that I mentionned previously).

J'ai envie de chocolat.
I feel like chocolate.
J'ai envie du chocolat que tu m'avais offert pour mon anniversaire.
I feel like the chocolate you'd given me for my birthday. 

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !
RonC1
Bonsoir Alison, I think the answer lies in the fact that «avoir envie de» is a fixed expression. In reviewing the lesson, all of the phrases construct similarly regardless of what is desired be it a masculine or feminine noun. Bonne chance.

Hi if de changes to du,de la des ... Why is it "J'ai envie de chocolat"

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In expressing need, when would one use, "avoir envie de," and when, "avoir besoin de?"

Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Susan, To express need, you'd only use avoir besoin de, which means "to need." Avoir envie de means "to want."
Thanks for the clarification.

But you used avoir  envie de with need to go to the toilet.  Why not j’ai besoin d’aller aux toilettes?

In expressing need, when would one use, "avoir envie de," and when, "avoir besoin de?"

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What is the difference between veux and envie

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ruba, "Veux" is from "vouloir" which means "to want." "Envie" is used in the expression "avoir envie" which means "to feel like."
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ruba, You might have encountered the sentence "J'ai envie de toi" meaning "I want you" in a loving way in French. "Je te veux" in that context would be much less romantic!
KatieA2

Apart of this particular situation though, is 'veux' and 'envie' pretty much interchangeable when I want to express that I WANT something?

AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Katie!

In a general sense, I'd say that "veux" is "to want", whereas "avoir envie de" would be more like "I fancy", which in some cases can be close enough to be interchangeable indeed :)

Bonne journée !

What is the difference between veux and envie

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