How to say “want” (volere): Italian grammar lesson 22


Dive into the Italian language and master the verb volere, the key to expressing desires, willpower, and demands in Italian. From basic conjugations to polite requests, learn how to wield this versatile verb like a native!

  • Grasp the Basics: Get to know volere, the go-to verb for ‘wanting’ something in Italian. It’s irregular, so don’t expect the usual patterns here!
  • Modal Verb Magic: Remember, volere is a modal verb. It’s the Robin to your Batman verb, always ready to assist in expressing intentions or abilities.
  • Infinitive Pairing: When using volere, the following verb is always chilling in the infinitive form. Keep it simple, no extra conjugations needed!
  • Conditional Charm: Want to be polite or talk about wishes? Use volere in the conditional mood to soften your requests or daydream out loud.
  • Real-life Examples: Get your head around volere with practical sentences. Whether you’re quitting smoking or demanding owed money, this verb’s got your back.

My thoughts

How to say want in Italian: volere

The English verb “want” translates into the Italian verb volere.

Volere is an irregular verb. In other words, it doesn’t follow the same pattern as other second conjugation verbs.

Volere is also a modal verb. Modal verbs are also called helper verbs because their function is to “help” another verb, expressing intention, possibility, need, or ability.

If a verb follows volere, it is always in the infinitive tense.

Volere has three main meanings (which are all compatible with the use of the verb “to want” in English):

  • It expresses the desire to achieve something
  • It expresses a strong will
  • It expresses the claim of acting on someone else’s will (and it is used for demands)

Volere: Examples

Here are some sentences to see when to use the verb volere.

  • To express a desire to achieve something:

Da grande voglio fare l’insegnante.

When I grow up I want to be a teacher.

Marta vuole vincere la gara.

Marta wants to win the race.

  • To express a strong will

Angelo vuole smettere di fumare.

Angelo wants to quit smoking.

Non posso andare alla festa perché i miei genitori non vogliono.

I can’t go to the party because my parents don’t want me to go.

  • To express demands concerning others

Giorgio vuole i soldi che gli devi.

Giorgio wants the money you owe him.

Gli insegnanti vogliono che gli studenti si impegnino di più.

The teachers want the students to work harder.

Other uses of volere: the conditional tense

The conditional conjugation of volere has a particular meaning which is comparable to the use of “would like” and “wish” in English.

The conjugation of volere in the conditional mood (present tense) is:

Io vorrei
Tu vorresti
Lui vorrebbe
Noi vorremmo
Voi vorreste
Loro vorrebbero

Let’s look at some sentences to see when it’s suitable to use the conditional conjugation of the verb volere:

  • To express wishes and desires (especially if difficult or impossible to accomplish):

Vorrei dormire tutto il giorno!

I wish I could sleep all day.

Vorrei imparare a suonare il pianoforte, ma non ho tempo.

I would like to learn to play the piano, but I don’t have time.

  • To make polite requests.

Vorrei un caffè, per favore.

I would like a coffee, please.

  • To make polite offers and proposals – but in this case, the indicative mood is also acceptable:

Vorresti qualcosa da bere? (conditional mood) / Vuoi qualcosa da bere? (indicative mood)

Would you like something to drink?

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Want in Italian: volere

The Italian verb volere is the equivalent of the English verbwant“.

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Volere is an irregular modal verb that expresses the desire to achieve something, a strong will, or the claim of acting on someone else‘s will.

In this post, examples of sentences with volere are given to demonstrate its different uses.

The conjugation of volere in the conditional mood (present tense) is also mentioned, as it has a particular meaning which is similar to the English use ofwould like andwish“.

It is used to express wishes and desires, make polite requests and offers, or make polite proposals.

What is the difference between Vorrei and Voglio?

"Voglio" is Italian for "I want," while "vorrei" means "I would like."

Is Volere irregular Italian?

Volere is an irregular modal verb that expresses the desire to achieve something.

What is voglio?

"(Io) voglio" is the present indicative form of "volere" in the first person singular.

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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