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

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


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.


Q&A

Marnie

Kwiziq community member

19 July 2018

7 replies

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...

Marnie

Kwiziq community member

19 July 2018

19/07/18

Oh now I see...I need a new car would be ‘j’ai besoin d’acheter une nouvelle voiture’!

Marnie

Kwiziq community member

19 July 2018

19/07/18

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’.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

20 July 2018

20/07/18

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!

Marnie

Kwiziq community member

20 July 2018

20/07/18

But you give ´I need a new’ something in the lesson.  Perhaps that usage could be removed....?  Merci.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

21 July 2018

21/07/18

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.


 

Marnie

Kwiziq community member

21 July 2018

21/07/18

Thanks for clarifying...I didn’t want to remove it ...just to understand the nuances and raison d’etre For its use!

Marnie

Kwiziq community member

21 July 2018

21/07/18

The use/différence hadn’t been explained...now it is clear.

alison

Kwiziq community member

13 August 2017

2 replies

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

Ron

Kwiziq community member

14 August 2017

14/08/17

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.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

23 August 2017

23/08/17

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 !

Susan

Kwiziq community member

23 September 2016

2 replies

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

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

24 September 2016

24/09/16

Bonjour Susan,

To express need, you'd only use avoir besoin de, which means "to need."

Avoir envie de means "to want."

Susan

Kwiziq community member

25 September 2016

25/09/16

Thanks for the clarification.

ruba

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2015

2 replies

What is the difference between veux and envie

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

23 November 2015

23/11/15

Bonjour Ruba,

"Veux" is from "vouloir" which means "to want."

"Envie" is used in the expression "avoir envie" which means "to feel like."

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 December 2015

8/12/15

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!

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