Using manquer (de) to say you/something miss or lack in French

The verb manquer is often troublesome for English speakers of French because its structure varies whether it applies to missing [something] emotionally - reversed structure - or missing [something] practically - see structures below.

Learn how to use manquer (de) in French

Manquer [quelque chose] = to miss [something], to fail to attend/catch

Ton père ne veut pas manquer ta remise de diplôme.Your father doesn't want to miss your graduation.

Jacques a manqué son train.Jacques missed his train.

Vite ! On va manquer le début du concert !Quick! We're going to miss the beginning of the concert!

Avec ses yeux de lynx, ma prof ne manque rien.With her eagle eyes, my teacher doesn't miss anything.

To express missing as in failing to attend or catch something (e.g., an event, a train ...), you use:

manquer + [event/means of transport/place...]

In French, you can also use the verb rater in this specific context, though it's a bit more familiar than manquer.

Jacques a raté son train.Jacques missed his train.


Manquer de [quelque chose]
= to lack [something]

Je manque de sucre pour faire ce gâteau.I need [lit: lack] sugar to make that cake.

Il manque toujours de courage.He always lacks courage.

Je manque d'argent pour payer mes factures.I don't have enough money to pay my bills.

J'ai eu une enfance heureuse, je n'ai manqué de rien.I had a happy childhood, I wanted for nothing (lit. I lacked nothing).

To express lacking [something], you use:

manquer de or d' + [thing]

As you're literally saying I lack of [something], you never use partitive articles (du, de l', de la, des) here; i.e., Je manque du sucre.


Il manque [quelque chose] à [quelqu'un/quelque chose]
= [Someone/something] is missing (i.e. lacking) [something]

To say that someone or something is missing/lacking something, you also use the impersonal structure: Il manque quelque chose à [quelqu'un/quelque chose], literally "It's missing [something] to [someone/something]", as follows:
Il manque un bouton à ta chemise.Your shirt is missing a button.

Il me manque deux euros pour pouvoir l'acheter.I need two more euros to be able to buy it. (Literally: I'm missing two euros...)

Il manquait juste une demoiselle d'honneur à notre mariée.Our bride was just missing a bridesmaid.

Il va manquer une chaise à ton oncle.Your uncle is going to be missing a chair.

This impersonal structure can also be used without mentioning the person/thing lacking, expressing in a more general way that something/someone is missing/lacking, as follows:

Il manque toujours quelque chose !Something is always missing!

Il manque du sel dans cette soupe.Salt is missing in that soup / That soup is lacking salt.

Il va manquer une chaise pour ton oncle.We/They/You're going to be missing a chair for your uncle.

Note that, just like in English, there is a difference between manquer à [quelqu'un]missing, lacking to [someone] - and manquer pour [quelqu'un]missing for [someone].
You cannot use manquer in any of the above ways to express missing a person (or thing) emotionally.
See Using manquer (à) to say you miss someone or something emotionally in French

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Examples and resources

Il va manquer une chaise à ton oncle.Your uncle is going to be missing a chair.
Vite ! On va manquer le début du concert !Quick! We're going to miss the beginning of the concert!
Avec ses yeux de lynx, ma prof ne manque rien.With her eagle eyes, my teacher doesn't miss anything.
J'ai eu une enfance heureuse, je n'ai manqué de rien.I had a happy childhood, I wanted for nothing (lit. I lacked nothing).
Je manque de sucre pour faire ce gâteau.I need [lit: lack] sugar to make that cake.
Il manque un bouton à ta chemise.Your shirt is missing a button.
Il manquait juste une demoiselle d'honneur à notre mariée.Our bride was just missing a bridesmaid.
Il me manque deux euros pour pouvoir l'acheter.I need two more euros to be able to buy it. (Literally: I'm missing two euros...)
Il manque toujours de courage.He always lacks courage.
Jacques a raté son train.Jacques missed his train.
Il va manquer une chaise pour ton oncle.We/They/You're going to be missing a chair for your uncle.
Il manque toujours quelque chose !Something is always missing!
Ton père ne veut pas manquer ta remise de diplôme.Your father doesn't want to miss your graduation.
Il manque du sel dans cette soupe.Salt is missing in that soup / That soup is lacking salt.

to lack something


Je manque d'argent pour payer mes factures.I don't have enough money to pay my bills.

to miss an event


J'ai manqué l'école aujourd'hui.I missed school today.
Jacques a manqué son train.Jacques missed his train.
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