Je voudrais vs je veux to say that you want something in French

In French, you can use "je voudrais" and "je veux" to say that you want something. There is still a difference as to which to use.

When to use 'je voudrais' and 'je veux' in French

Look at these examples:

Je veux une glace !I want an ice cream!

Je voudrais un coca, s'il te plaît.I would like a coke, please.

Je veux un câlin.I want a hug.

Je voudrais un câlin.I would like a hug.

Note that to ask for something in French, you could use two forms of the verb vouloir: 
je veux (I want) or je voudrais (I would want/like)

Je voudrais is preferable in social contexts such as in a restaurant, as it is more polite and subtle than the blunt je veux (just like in English).

[Note that j'aimerais (I would like) is also very commonly used in more polite contexts.]

 

Grammar point: Je veux is in Le Présent tense (I want), whereas je voudrais is in Le Conditionnel (I would want/like).

 

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Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je ne veux pas dormir!I don't want to sleep!
Je veux un câlin.I want a hug.
Je voudrais un câlin.I would like a hug.
Bonjour, je voudrais un coca, s'il vous plaît.Hello, I would like a coke, please.
Je voudrais un coca, s'il te plaît.I would like a coke, please.
Je veux une glace !I want an ice cream!
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