Avoir besoin de = To need

To express need in French you can use avoir besoin de (Literally: to have need of [something]) in the following ways:

avoir besoin de [quelque chose] = to need [something]

J'ai besoin de repos.
I need rest.

Nous avons besoin de nos parents.
We need our parents.

Guillaume a besoin d'un crayon bleu.
Guillaume needs a blue pencil.

To express to need + [noun], you will use :

avoir besoin de/d' + (article) + noun

avoir besoin de [infinitif] to need [to do]

Elle a besoin de faire ses devoirs.
She needs to do her homework.

Est-ce que tu as besoin de manger quelque chose ?
Do you need to eat something?

Alain a besoin d'aller aux toilettes !
Alain needs to go to the toilet!

To express to need + [verb], you will use the infinitive form of the verb, as such:

avoir besoin de/d' + infinitive
 
In both cases, de becomes d' in front of a vowel or mute h.

To know when to use avoir besoin de,
see Devoir vs avoir besoin de to express "to need to" 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Alain a besoin d'aller aux toilettes !
Alain needs to go to the toilet!



Nous avons besoin de nos parents.
We need our parents.



Est-ce que tu as besoin de manger quelque chose ?
Do you need to eat something?


Pas besoin de me remercier !
No need to thank me!


Examples - to need to


J'ai besoin de faire les courses.
I need to go shopping.


to need


Guillaume a besoin d'un crayon bleu.
Guillaume needs a blue pencil.


J'ai besoin de repos.
I need rest.


to need to


Elle a besoin de faire ses devoirs.
She needs to do her homework.


Q&A Forum 3 questions, 8 answers

TomC1

avoir besoin de

The lesson states:

To express to need + [noun], you will use :avoir besoin de/d' + (article) + noun

The examples cited show the use of the indefinite article but none include the definite article and it could be implied that the definite article is never used after  avoir besoin de/d' which is obviously wrong. It is the old problem of the specific vs the general. Since this is a perrenial problem for French learners, it might be an idea to spell it out more explictly in the lesson.

Tom

Asked 7 months ago

Hi Tom! I have the same question. Can you explain when an article is not needed? 

TomC1

Hi Emily,

All I was getting at was that the lesson did not give any examples using the definite article. e.g.

J'ai besoin d'un crayon  - I need a pencil (any pencil)

J'ai besoin du crayon que tu m'as prêté, hier - I need the pencil (specific) you lent me yesterday.

J'ai besoin de soutien - I need support (general)

J'ai besoin du soutien du gouvernement - I need government support (specific)

Hope this helps,

Tom

avoir besoin de

The lesson states:

To express to need + [noun], you will use :avoir besoin de/d' + (article) + noun

The examples cited show the use of the indefinite article but none include the definite article and it could be implied that the definite article is never used after  avoir besoin de/d' which is obviously wrong. It is the old problem of the specific vs the general. Since this is a perrenial problem for French learners, it might be an idea to spell it out more explictly in the lesson.

Tom

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Why is Je dois incorrect?

Asked 1 year ago
GruffKwiziq language super star
Hi Graham - without context we can't help here. Can you let me know more detail?
He means why can't you use Je dois instead of J'ai besoin de.
GruffKwiziq language super star

Well, without context I can't tell what the issue was so I can only guess: devoir expresses obligation where as besoin de expresses need, so you can use both with a verb, but only besoin de with a noun.

You can say:
J'ai besoin de faire les courses. (I have to go shopping)
Je dois faire les courses. (I need to go shopping)

And you can say:
J'ai besoin d'un sac. (I need a bag)

But you can't say:
Je dois un sac. (I have to the bag)

[Note: in fact, you could actually say that but it would mean "I owe a bag" which in a very specific context might actually be something you would say - a game of poker playing with bags, perhaps? So long as you know it doesn't mean need here...]

Is that helpful?

Why is Je dois incorrect?

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How does this function relative to "il fault que"?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ross, Avoir besoin de means "to need" in French, while Il faut que (note that there is no "l") means "to be necessary." So avoir besoin focuses on the subject who needs to do something, and il faut que focuses on what needs to be done.
Bonjour Laura So does 'Il faut que' translate as 'It is necessary that'?
yes basically

How does this function relative to "il fault que"?

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