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
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!