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Avoir Envie

Avoir Envie

The French expression “avoir envie” means both “to want” and “to fancy”. It is used to express desires and wishes. It is formed by combining “avoir” (to have) followed by the preposition “de” and a noun or infinitive.

avoir envie de

to want, fancy

Avoir envie = to want to, to fancy

What does “avoir envie de” mean in French?

Example sentences with avoir envie

The usage of this expression requires that you know the verb avoir (to have). This page on our site covers conjugations for avoir in detail.

In French, the noun envie translates to both “wish” and “desire”. Hence, the expression “avoir envie” can translate to both “to have the wish to” and “to have the desire to”. Other translations include “to feel like” and “to fancy”.

In our first example sentence, avoir envie is followed by a noun, un café (a coffee).

J’ai envie d’un café.

I want a coffee.

In our second example sentence, avoir envie is followed by the preposition de and then an infinitive boire (to drink) and then the noun un café (coffee).

J’ai envie de boire un café.

I want to drink a coffee.

The expression avoir envie de is perfect for expressing wishes or what you’d like to do. Here’s another example. Here, avoir envie could also translate to “feels like”. So, for the example sentence it’s “feels like going”.

Sylvie a envie d’aller à la plage.

Sylvie wants to go to the beach.

Avoir envie can also be used in the negation where ne…pas is wrapped around conjugated form or avoir. Again, another translation in our example sentence could be “feel like working”.

Je n’ai pas envie de travailler.

I don’t want to work.

You could equally use avoir envie to ask somebody why they don’t want to do something. Grammatically, the complete sentence would be: “Tu n’as pas envie?” (You don’t want/feel like it?).

However, in spoken (or street) French, the “tu n’as pas” becomes “t’as pas”. Camille at French Today does a great job teaching the subtleties of modern spoken French in her course, À Moi Paris.

T’as pas envie?

You won’t want to?


That about wraps it up. I’m sure by now you’ve full understood the French expression avoir envie. Check out our post on the expression avoir besoin de (to need) as it’s very similar to avoir envie and follows the exact same grammatical structures!

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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