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 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.


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!


Q&A Forum 10 questions, 22 answers

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

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect 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?

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I chose voudrais because of the impossibility of being le maitre de l'univers and so iwould like to be seemed logical

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

answered...

I chose voudrais because of the impossibility of being le maitre de l'univers and so iwould like to be seemed logical

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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 4 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Claudia,

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

Merci

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 language super star

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?

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

Asked 4 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

yes, no problem.

Thank you, Chris

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

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

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect 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 ?

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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
ChrisC1Correct 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?

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

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect 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!

Yes, it is. Although more polite is "voudriez-vous une tasse de thé. " -- Chris (not a native speaker)
Thank you!!
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 language super star

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?"

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

Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
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.
merci mille fois.

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

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

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
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 ?

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Pronounciation

Is the pronunciation of je voudrais un câlin correct? I hear something at the end of voudrais that doesn't seem correct.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour M. ! Yes, I listened to the sentence, and the pronunciation is correct. À bientôt !
KevB2
It sounds like she said "Je voudrais la câlin" ( should be "le"?), not "Je voudrais un câlin". Somehow "the hug" doesn't sound right...
J'entend "un calin".

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.

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