Vouloir Conjugation & Translation

Instructor: Marcy Farrell
Do you want to learn French? Do you want a croissant or a café au lait? This lesson introduces the French verb ''vouloir'' which means 'to want.' You will learn the different forms of ''vouloir'' so you can talk about what you want and what others want.

Vouloir: To Want

Imagine that you get to spend a few weeks visiting France. What do you want to do? What do you want to eat? To express what you want, say je veux (pronounced: zhuh veuh), which means 'I want.' Whether you stay in a hotel or with French hosts, you'll have plenty of opportunities to discuss what you want. For example, you might say: je veux visiter le Louvre (pronounced: zhuh veuh vee-see-tay luh loov-ruh). Perhaps your main goal is to learn French. You can explain that: je veux apprendre le français (pronounced: zhuh veuh ah-prahn-druh luh frahn-say).

Conjugating Vouloir

In English, we say 'I want' and 'he wants.' The verb is 'want,' but its form changes slightly depending on who is speaking. In French, verbs have different endings. Putting the right endings on a verb is called conjugating the verb. Notice the endings for the verb vouloir:

VOULOIR (pronounced: vooh-lwahr) to want
je veux (zhuh veuh) nous voulons (nooh vooh-lahn)
I want we want
tu veux (tyooh veuh) vous voulez (vooh vooh-lay)
you want (singular) you want (plural)
il / elle veut (eel / el veuh) ils / elles veulent (eel / el vuhl)
he / she wants they want

Pronunciation Hints

Notice that the verb endings for je, tu, il and elle are all pronounced the same. The verb ending is the same for the je and tu forms. For il / elle , the ending changes. When you're speaking, you can't hear a difference.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the je, tu, il / elle, and ils / elles forms all start with veu. This letter blend sounds like 'euh.' To pronounce it correctly, think about making the sound down in your throat, at the spot where you swallow.

On the other hand, vouloir as well as voulons and voulez all begin with the sound vou. This letter blend rhymes with 'ooh' -- as in Ooh là là! This sound is formed with your lips. Pucker up like you're going to give someone a big kiss to make the ooh sound for French words like vouloir, voulons, voulez as well as vous and nous.

Examples With Vouloir

Imagine that two friends, Paul and Robert, are traveling together in France. As they discuss traveling from Paris to the city of Avignon, they might debate whether to prendre le train (pronounced: prahn-druh luh trahn) or louer une voiture (pronounced: looh-ay oohn vwah-tyuhr). Paul might ask Robert: Tu veux louer une voiture? Robert might reply, Non, je veux prendre le train.

Paul and Robert are staying with their friend Nathalie in Paris. They tell her about their plan: Nous voulons prendre le train. Nathalie might ask them, 'Do you want to leave tomorrow?' She would say Voulez-vous partir demain? (pronounced: vooh-lay vooh pahr-teer duh-mahn).

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