Avoir Besoin De: How To Say “To Need” In French

In French, avoir besoin de means “to need”. This is an expression and it requires both the usage of the verb avoir and must be followed by the preposition de. On this page we’ll look at several examples of how to use avoir besoin de in sentences.

Avoir besoin de, to need in French

Besoin pronunciation and meaning

Before we get into the example sentences, let’s take a quick look at the word besoin, which is a noun for “need”.

The pronunciation of besoin is [bəzwɛ̃]. This page on Forvo provides several good audio samples of besoin. The following video also does a great job teaching how to pronounce besoin.

Avoir besoin de: expression requiring avoir

The word besoin, in the context of “having the need for” is always combined with avoir (to have) and followed by the preposition de.

Avoir besoin de + noun

In the following example sentences, avoir besoin de is followed by a noun. Notice that de becomes d’, when preceding nouns starting with vowels.

  • J’ai besoin d’un café. I need a coffee.
  • Vous avez besoin d’une voiture. You need a car.

Avoir besoin de + infinitive + noun

In these example sentences, avoir besoin de is followed by an infinitive and a noun.

  • J’ai besoin de boire un café. I need to drink a coffee.
  • Tu as besoin de conduire une voiture. You need to drive a car.

Avoir besoin + infintive

Avoir besoin can also be followed by just an infinitive and no noun.

  • Vous avez besoin de dormir. You need to sleep.
  • Ils ont besoin de partir. They need to leave.

Note that it is very common for beginners to forget to put the de after besoin. For example:

  • J’ai besoin d’apprendre le français. I need to learn the verbs. (This is correct).
  • J’ai besoin apprendre le français. (This is wrong as the de was omitted).

Avoir besoin in different tenses

The following two example sentences show how to use avoir besoin de in the futur proche and futur simple, the two main future tenses in French.

  • Tu vas avoir besoin de manger. You’re going to need to eat.
  • Tu auras besoin de manger. You’re going to need to eat.

In the passé composé, this same sentence looks like this:

  • Tu as eu besoin de manger. You needed to eat.

This sentence can also be written using the imperfect tense:

  • Tu avais besoin de manger. You needed to eat.

Besoin as a noun

Besoin is a noun and does not necessarily have to used in the expression avoir besoin de. Here are some examples:

  • La famille est dans le beoin. The family is needy (poor).
  • L’employeur fournit les besoins de base des employés. The employers provides the basic needs of the employees.

Avoir besoin vs. devoir

While avoir besoin de translates to need, the verb devoir translates to “must” or “to have to”. They can be used interchangeably when making sentences.

  • J’ai besoin de travailler. I need to work.
  • Je dois travailler. I must (have to) work.
Meaning of "avoir besoin de" in French

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