Vouloir way “to want’ in French. That way it deserve to convey a need or desire – but it’s likewise used come convey the total opposite: one ultra-polite request.

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Want to learn much more about this two-sided verb? I want nothing much more than to help you.

How come conjugate vouloir

Vouloir is an irregular verb. The conjugated through avoir in compound tenses.

Here’s how to conjugate the most common tenses the vouloir:

PresentPassé Composé Imparfait
je veuxj’ai vouluje voulais
tu veuxtu as voulutu voulais
il/elle/on veutil/elle/on a vouluil/elle/on voulait
nous voulonsnous avons voulunous voulions
vous voulezvous avez vouluvous vouliez
ils/elles veulentils/elles ont vouluils/elles voulaient
je voudraije voudraisque je veuille
tu voudrastu voudraisque tu veuilles
il/elle/on voudrail/elle/on voudraitqu’ il/elle/on veuille
nous voudronsnous voudrionsque nous voulions
vous voudrezvous voudriezque vous vouliez
ils/elles voudrontils/elles voudraientqu’ils/elles veuillent

A note around the imperative type of vouloir

When it pertains to addressing other world (tu, vous), the not really common to usage vouloir in the classic imperative form, based on the current indicative. Most grammar guides take into consideration the subjunctive form the truer imperative of vouloir, because you’re basically ordering someone to feel or act a particular way, which you’re much less sure to achieve than, say, ordering lock to perform an action. As we’ll learn in this article, you’ll commonly see (polite) requests/demands in the subjunctive type of vouloir.

Veux/Veuille (tu)
Voulons (nous)
Voulez/Veuillez (vous)

What walk vouloir mean ?

Vouloir way ‘to want’. Yet that goes both ways. You have the right to use it to talk around wanting something, however it’s additionally used come express the hope that someone else wants something or desires to do something.

Let’s look at these different ways to use vouloir a little much more closely.

The “want” vouloir

Vous vouliez des billets pour le spectacle ?

To to speak someone wants something in French, you have the right to use tenses favor the present, past, and also future. Yet keep conditional and also subjunctive tenses beside – this are supplied to present politeness, even ultra-politeness. We’ll gain to lock a small further on.

To talk around wanting something, use:

subject + vouloir conjugated in the proper tense + object

Here room some examples:

Je veux ce tableau. (I desire this painting)

Elle veut une Nintendo Switch pour Noël. (She wants a Nintendo Switch for Christmas.)

Vous vouliez des billets to water le spectacle ? (You wanted tickets come the play?)

Note that vouloir isn’t offered with feeling sexual desire because that someone (“I desire you”, etc.). That said, vouloir deserve to be supplied to to express wanting to perform love- and sex -related actions, utilizing the following formula….

To talk about wanting to do something, use:

subject + vouloir conjugated in the suitable tense + infinitive verb

For instance:

Je veux danser. (I want to dance).

Il voulait voir un film mais nous sommes arrivés trop tard au cinéma. (He want to see a movie yet we gained to the cinema as well late.)

You may have actually to add an object to the formula. In the case, put the reflective pronoun in between vouloir and also the prototype verb, like so:

Elle veut te donner un bisou. (She desires to offer you a kiss.)

Tu voulais me donner quelque chose ? (You wanted to offer me something?)

Using vouloir with phrases

What if you want to express something more complicated than a verb infinitive will certainly allow?

In this case, you’ll need to use

vouloir + que

If did you do it been examining French because that a while, the phrase may have set off an alarm in her head. Vouloir que is a phrase that method “Subjunctive it is too dirty ahead!”

In various other words, the verb in the phrase that follows vouloir que will it is in conjugated in the goodbye tense.

For instance:

Je veux que tu me dises la vérité. (I want you to tell me the truth.)

Mes parental voulaient que nous nous mariions dès que possible. (My parents wanted united state to marry as shortly as possible.)

The “would like” vouloir


Although you deserve to use vouloir in just about any tense, politeness is a huge thing in French culture. So, if you’re telling someone what friend want, you’ll often use the conditional in order not to sound demanding. 

You might have currently practiced this in her French classes.

For example, if you ordering at a restaurant in France, you shouldn’t say Je veux un steak tartare (I desire the steak tartare). Instead, you’d placed vouloir in the conditional: Je voudrais le steak tartare(I would prefer the steak tartare). And adding s’il vous plait is constantly a pretty touch.

Here room a few other examples:

Bonjour, je voudrais parler avec Monsieur Dupont, s’il vous plait. (Hello, I’d like to speak v Monsieur Dupont, please.)

Elles m’ont dit qu’elles voudraient un gâteau décoré avec des roses. (They told me that they would favor a cake decorated with roses.)

The ultra-polite vouloir


So far, we’ve watched that vouloir can be supplied in many tenses come express wanting something. When it’s in the conditional, the expresses “would like” together opposed to “want”, and also should be provided in most situations when you’re asking for something, due to the fact that French human being tend come be incredibly polite.

But as soon as vouloir is used in the subjunctive, it transforms its identity a bit. Instead of being around what someone desires or would certainly like, it i do not care an ultra-polite request that one wishes the human being or civilization they’re addressing will agree to.

For that reason, you will do it most often see vouloir conjugated through vous in the goodbye tense. And also you’ll most often encounter it in formal and professional French emails and also letters or instructions posted in public places.

Here room some really common phrases with Veuillez:

Veuillez trouver ci-joint… (Please discover attached …)

Veuillez m’excuser. (I humbly beg her pardon.)

The much longer ultra-polite vouloir

Extreme politeness can likewise be expressed with the phrase de bien vouloir. You’ll often see it came before by words favor Merci or Je vous prie.

Here space some common examples:

Merci de bien vouloir fermer la porte. (Kindly nearby the door.)

Je vous prie de bien accuser réception de ma lettre. (Please it is in so kind regarding confirm agree of my letter.)

Be mindful with bien vouloir!

Note that bien vouloir there is no the de  has a various meaning. It’s provided to show a general solid desire for something. In the past, it regularly expresses regret.

You can find some instances of bien vouloir in the perform of vouloir expressions further on in this article.

Vouloir as a noun

Le vouloir method ‘a desire or want’.

But vouloir’s noun kind is used very rarely and also I’ve only consisted of it because, well, this write-up is around vouloir.

When i asked my French husband because that a real-life instance of it, he can only think the the phrase selon votre bon vouloir, which method “as needed/as desired” and can be used with things favor recipes. But even then, there are more common alternatives.

So the noun le vouloir does exist, and you might come throughout it at some point, but it’s not a terribly usual word in contemporary French.

On the various other hand, that cousin, la volonté (will), is really common.

What walk se vouloir mean ?

Now the we’ve looked at vouloir and some the the tenses and also phrases commonly associated with it, stop tackle the verb’s reflex form: se vouloir.

Se vouloir means “wanting come seem/appear”. Here are some examples:

Elle se veut la add to belle fille de l’école. (She desires to be considered the many beautiful girl in the school.)

Ils se veulent experts en la matière. (They want seem like experts in this subject.)

Common phrases and expressions with vouloir

Vouloir, c’est pouvoir.

Here room some vouloir phrases and also expressions that you’ll commonly come throughout in modern-day French.

Bien vouloir – to really desire something/to really want to carry out something

Note that when this is used with past tenses, it regularly expresses regret. Be careful not to confuse this expression with the ultra-polite expression bien vouloir de, which was previously disputed in this article.

Examples : Je voudrais bien y aller ! (I’d really favor to go!)

Nous aurions bien voulu regarder le enhance hier soir, mais la télé était en panne. (We really want to clock the video game last night, however the TV to be broken.)

Tu voudrais une boule de glace ? – Oui, je voudrais bien ! (Would you favor a scoop of ice cream? Yes, I’d love some!)

en vouloir à – come be upset or annoyed at someone. Examples:

Sarah en veut à sa cousine. (Sarah is foolish at her cousin.)

Tu m’en veux ? (Are you mad at me ?) 

s’en vouloir à – come be angry at oneself. Example: Je m’en veux d’avoir oublié ton cadeau. (I’m so mad in ~ myself for forgetting your gift.)

sans le vouloir – without an interpretation to/unintentionally. Example: Il a insulté Jacques sans le vouloir. (He insulted Jacques without an interpretation to./He unintentionally insulted Jacques.)

vouloir dire – come mean. Examples :

Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire ? (What go this/that mean?)

« Reum » veut dire « mère » en verlan. (“Reum” way “mother” in verlan (French backwards slang)).

vouloir sa part du gâteau – to want one’s item of the pie (to want one’s share)

vouloir refaire le monde – to want to make the world a far better place

Vouloir, c’est pouvoir– If you desire it, you can do it/Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Want more? have actually a look in ~ this indigenous Reference page for extr expressions v vouloir, as well as some ethereal variations of a few of the expressions on our list.

If you to be hoping to learn about vouloir, i hope this write-up gave you what girlfriend wanted. And if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed around this verb’s different degrees of meaning, ns promise that the an ext French you exposed to, the much easier and an ext intuitive it will certainly become.

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If you want to grasp the verb vouloir, friend will: after ~ all, vouloir, c’est pouvoir!


Alysa Salzberg is an American writer, worrier, teacher, and cookie enthusiast who has actually lived in Paris, France, for an ext than a decade. She has taught English and French for more than ten years, many notably together an assistante de langue vivante for L"Education Nationale.She newly published her an initial novel, Hearts at Dawn, a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling the takes place during the 1870 Siege the Paris. You deserve to read about her adventures here, or feel complimentary to protect against by she website.