Learn different ways to express bisogno e desiderio: need and desire in Italian. Solve the quiz and win a Skype class.
NEED – BISOGNO
Bisogna – Avere bisogno – C’è bisogno di… – Servire
They all express need, but are quite different expressions.
This is an “impersonal” verb, meaning that it is necessary, convenient, useful, to do something. Bisogna, is very common in the spoken language.
Since “it is necessary”, we need to use only the third singular conjugation of the verb “bisognare”. We never use other “personal” conjugations (for example “io bisogno”, “tu bisogni” etc etc), as they are obsolete.
We can use the simple presente bisogna (it is necessary), the futuro bisognerà (it will be necessary), the imperfetto bisognava (it was necessary), and the condizionale bisognerebbe (it would be necessary).
Read the following examples and try to translate them into your language. Tenses in the examples will change if you set the action in the present, past, future or as a possibility with the condizionale. Try to do that.
Avere bisogno di …
Literally “to have need of”. In this case we can conjugate the verb avere and use it as present, future, past in any tense and attach it to an object (Ho bisogno di una pausa, I need a break) or a verb infinitive (Ho bisogno di mangiare qualcosa, I need to eat something).
C’è bisogno di …
Literally “there is need of”. That’s the “impersonal”, singular, equivalent of “avere bisogno di…”.
“Servire”, expresses a need. The construction of sentences with this verb is similar to piacere. So if I say that I need a car, Mi serve una macchina, I can roughly translate it as – The car “serves” me – I need it. Obviously the subject in this sentence is una macchina, not io.
We can also express a need with the verb dovere, which means “must”, “need to” and “have to” depending on the situation.
DESIRE – DESIDERIO
Volere – Avere voglia di … – Mi va…
“Want” is the most obvious way to express a desire. We already said that volere – with dovere, potere and sapere – is a modal verb, meaning that it goes with a second infinitive verb – Voglio mangiare un gelato, I want to eat an ice-cream – or with an object –Voglio un gelato, I want an ice-cream. Remember that a request with Voglio is quite rude, so you should use the conditional Vorrei, I’d like. Let’s see some examples with different tenses and subjects.
Avere voglia di…
“To be in the mood for…”, literally “having the desire of…” something or doing something. We use it a lot. Let’s see some examples.
Mi va, Mi vanno, Ti va, Ti vanno etc…
Andare means “to go”, but when it’s linked to an indirect pronoun (“Ti” = to you, “Mi” = to me etc.) it means “to be in the mood”, just like avere voglia.
Thanks for reading. Please solve the quiz and let me know if you have questions.