Avoir (To Have) Meaning, Usage, Example Sentences

avoirOne of the most common verbs in French is avoir, which means to have. The verb is used in quite a few situations where we’d use ‘to be’ in English. On this page you’ll learn the most common usages of avoir with several example sentences.

Expressing Age

To say how old you are in French say: J’ai  + NUMBER  + ans. Which means, “I have X years. For example:

  • J’ai vingt ans (I’m twenty years-old)
  • J’ai dix-sept ans (I’m seventeen years-old).

Do not say “Je suis vingt ans” because that would be wrong. Say: J’ai vingt ans.

Describing feelings and states of mind

  • J’ai faim. I’m hungry. Again, don’t say “je suis faim” because that would be wrong.
  • J’ai chaud. I’m hot -> Literally: “I have hot”
  • J’ai raison. I’m right
  • J’ai peur. I’m afraid -> Literally: “I have fear”
  • J’ai sommeil. I’m tired/sleepy.
  • J’ai de la chance. I’m lucky.

Expressing need and want/desire

To say, “I need” use the following expression: J’ai besoin de + noun OR verb in the infinitive. Examples:

  • J’ai besoin d’argent. I need money.
  • J’ai besoin d’une voiture. I need a car.
  • J’ai besoin d’étudier. I need to study.
  • J’ai besoin de travailler. I need to study.

To express wanting or desiring to do something use:
avoir envie de + noun or verb in the infinitive. Examples:

  • J’ai envie d’une pizza. I want a pizza.
  • J’ai envie de manger une pizza. I want to eat a pizza.
  • J’ai envie de parler avec mon ami. I want to speak with my friend.
  • J’ai envie d’apprendre le Français. I want to learn French.

To express how somebody seems

Use the following: “avoir l’air + adjective)

Examples:

  • La fille a l’air heureuse. The girl seems happy
  • Le garçon a l’air fatigué. The boy seems tired
  • L’homme a l’air sympathique. The man seems nice.
  • La femme a l’air gentille. The woman seems nice.
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