Je voudrais vs je veux

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).

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je voudrais un câlin.
I would like a hug.


Je veux un câlin.
I want a hug.


Je veux une glace!     
I want an ice cream!


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


Je ne veux pas dormir!
I don't want to sleep!


Bonjour, je voudrais un coca, s'il vous plaît.
Hello, I would like a coke, please.


Q&A Forum 11 questions, 25 answers

MelisaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Why was voudrais incorrect?


On the quiz, I was given Je ________ un jouet!  and put voudrais in the blank. It was marked incorrect and veux given as the correct answer. I though you could use either. Why was voudrais wrong?

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Melisa, 

I suppose the exclamation mark makes it more of a demand than a wish, so 'veux' would be correct.

Hope this helps!

MelisaA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hmm, I took the exclamation mark as a mark of excitement at possibly getting a new game. 

Melisa asked:View original

Why was voudrais incorrect?


On the quiz, I was given Je ________ un jouet!  and put voudrais in the blank. It was marked incorrect and veux given as the correct answer. I though you could use either. Why was voudrais wrong?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

IanA1Kwiziq community member

Je voudrais un tasse de café, mais je ne veux pas des sucre. Est-ce correct ?

Asked 2 months ago
LisaA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributorCorrect answer

Also, not to be picky but it’s une tasse de café, i believe. Tasse is feminine. And Stuart is right- all indefinite and partitive articles become de in negative sentences. If you did want sugar, it would be je veux du sucre, not des sucre since it’s singular. Hope I’m right. Still struggling here! Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. 

StuartB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Pas de sucre.  I believe. No article following pas.  Or just ask for un café sans sucre.  (No article with sans either.)

Je voudrais un tasse de café, mais je ne veux pas des sucre. Est-ce correct ?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

FrancesB1Kwiziq community member

I chose je voudrais because of the impossibility of being le maitre de l'univers so why would one say je veux?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Frances,

Not sure of the context of that one, but if it was in a quiz -

and you put yourself into the mind of the megalomaniac who wants to be the Master of the Universe, I think he would use I want rather than I would like...

I chose je voudrais because of the impossibility of being le maitre de l'univers so why would one say je veux?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

ClaudiaA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Salut a tous

"Je voudrais un coca ... "by the male "Voudrais" sounds different from the female in "Bonjour, je voudrais un coca... "Is it a regional accent?

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Claudia,

No, it is just the way the recording system used sometimes slightly distorts some words...

ClaudiaA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Merci

MichelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

It actually sounds like the computer is saying "voudra" (at least to me) which could be a bit confusing because you don't use voudra with je, and obviously voudrai is not pronounced like voudra. 

Could you perhaps just remove this clip and put the female computer one in the examples in its place to avoid this confusion? 

AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Michelle !

I've now replaced this audio file with a much clearer male voice :)

Bonne journée !

Salut a tous

"Je voudrais un coca ... "by the male "Voudrais" sounds different from the female in "Bonjour, je voudrais un coca... "Is it a regional accent?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Can voudrais followed by infinitive verb? For example, Je voudrais nager dans la piscine

Asked 8 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

yes, no problem.

JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you, Chris

Can voudrais followed by infinitive verb? For example, Je voudrais nager dans la piscine

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

MartinA0Kwiziq community member

Bon Jour !! What is the difference between: s'il te plaît -and- s'il vous plaît ?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Martin,

You would say the familiar 's'il te plaît' to someone you say 'tu' to-  so children, family members, friends etc...

and the more respectful 's'il vous plaît' to someone you say 'vous' to - so strangers, in shops, to people you don't know very well, or elderly people not part of your family etc...

Hope this helps!

Bon Jour !! What is the difference between: s'il te plaît -and- s'il vous plaît ?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Je voudrais v j'aimerais

What is the difference in usage between je voudrais and j'aimerais? I have heard elsewhere that j'aimerais is appropriate when asking for something that you might not get or are unlikely to get. Is that correct?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi John,

J'aimerais is simply "I would like...". The emphasis is not so much on getting something but more on liking it.

Je voudrais emphasises that you would like to obtain something, not just liking it.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Je voudrais v j'aimerais

What is the difference in usage between je voudrais and j'aimerais? I have heard elsewhere that j'aimerais is appropriate when asking for something that you might not get or are unlikely to get. Is that correct?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

RebekahA1Kwiziq community member

Is it correct to say "Voudrez-vous une tasse de thé?"

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Although grammatically correct, Vous voudrez une tasse de thé ? will relate to an event in the future, meaning something like, Will you be wanting a cup a tea?

For, Do you want a cup of tea? you will say, Vous voulez une tasse de thé ? (or voulez-vous une...) more than the polite form Voudriez-vous une tasse de thé ? which sounds stilted. But in shops or in the case of any dealings with strangers you will use "je voudrais", not "je veux" which sounds rude in French!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Yes, it is. Although more polite is "voudriez-vous une tasse de thé. " -- Chris (not a native speaker)
RebekahA1Kwiziq community member
Thank you!!
JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Hi Cécile,

Does it means that the verb 'vouloir' in Le Conditionnel tense, only (je) voudrais means 'would like', the rest (such as voudriez, voudions) means 'will be wanting'?

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Joan, 

It is the difference between, 

'Do you want a cup of tea? ' and 'Would you like a cup of tea ? '.

The British (being more polite) would always use 'would' but,  'voulez-vous' is acceptable in French to ask if someone wants a drink....

Is it correct to say "Voudrez-vous une tasse de thé?"

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Kyaw A2Kwiziq community member

How can we say ''I want to + infinitive'' in French? Like I want to eat, sleep, go, etc.

Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Je voudrais is used to request something politely, i.e je voudrais du thé, svp. whereas je veux is used more among friends, etc. je veux manger. or j'ai faim, on y va manger.
Kyaw A2Kwiziq community member
merci mille fois.

How can we say ''I want to + infinitive'' in French? Like I want to eat, sleep, go, etc.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

AdvikaA1Kwiziq community member

So , Je voudrais des fleurs means I would like some flowers ?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Advika ! Yes, it can mean either "I would like some flowers." or "I would like flowers." À bientôt !

So , Je voudrais des fleurs means I would like some flowers ?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

MeghnaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Pronounciation

Is the pronunciation of je voudrais un câlin correct? I hear something at the end of voudrais that doesn't seem correct.
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour M. ! Yes, I listened to the sentence, and the pronunciation is correct. À bientôt !
KevB2Kwiziq community member
It sounds like she said "Je voudrais la câlin" ( should be "le"?), not "Je voudrais un câlin". Somehow "the hug" doesn't sound right...
SuzanB2Kwiziq community member
J'entend "un calin".
TristanA0Kwiziq community member

Dear Kev

Depending on where someone learns french, the accent can confuse non-native speakers on cetain words. For example some one from Quebec might say "le" but because of their accent it sounds like "la"

--From Tristan the Canadian

Pronounciation

Is the pronunciation of je voudrais un câlin correct? I hear something at the end of voudrais that doesn't seem correct.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Clever stuff underway!