Apprendre la Langue Française (Part 45): le verbe – vouloir (l’usage et conjugaison au présent)


Vouloir is one of the most common French verbs. It is irregular in conjugation and has several different meanings, depending on the tense and mood it is conjugated into.

Vouloir indicates a strong will or command – “to want” or “to wish,” for example:

Je veux danser avec toi. I want to dance with you.
Voulez-vous parler? Do you wish to speak?
Je ne veux pas le faire! I don’t want to (I won’t) do it!

Vouloir can be used to express polite requests or desires in three different constructions.

In a question, for example:

Voulez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît? Will you help me, please?
Veux-tu t’asseoir, s’il te plaît? Please sit down.

In the conditional, for example:

Je voudrais du thé. I would like some tea.
Voudriez-vous venir avec nous? Would you like to come with us?

In the imperative, usually in the second person plural, to express an extremely polite request:

Veuillez m’excuser. Please (be so kind as to) excuse me.
Veuillez vous asseoir. Please sit down.

Vouloir bien means “to be willing to,” “to be glad to,” “to be good/kind enough to.”

Je veux bien le faire. I’d be glad to do it.
Elle veut bien l’acheter, mais il ne le vend pas. She’s willing to buy it, but he’s not selling it.
Aidez-moi, si vous voulez bien. Help me, if you would be so kind.

Vouloir dire means “to mean,” for example:

Que veut dire “volontier”? What does “volontier” mean?
Volontiers veut dire “gladly.” Volontier means “gladly.”

En vouloir à quelqu’un means to hold something against someone (be upset about something), for example:

Il m’en veut de l’avoir fait. He holds it against me for doing that.
Ne m’en veux pas! Don’t hold it against me!

Vouloir is followed directly by the inifinitive, with no preposition. For example:

Je veux le faire. I want to do it.
Nous voulons savoir. We want to know.

When vouloir is in a main clause with another verb in a subordinate clause, that verb must be in the subjunctive. For example:

Je veux qu’il le fasse. I want him to do it.
Nous voulons que tu le saches. We want you to know (it).

Here is the conjugation of the verb veux in present tense:

je veux nous vouvons
tu veux vous vouvez
il/elle/on veut ils/elles veuvent

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