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Complete post:

Jan

09

2012

The verb vouloir...

... used with se

We're used to using the verb vouloir when expressing wishes, desires and so on. We might ask someone if they'd like a beer in which case we'd have:

  • Veux-tu une bière ? [= Do you want a beer?]

Or we might ask a question like:

  • Que veux-tu d'elle? [= What do you want from her?]

But what about the expression se vouloir, that is, making use of the reflexive pronoun se? Consider this paragraph from an article this morning on france24.fr about the CES show in Las Vegas which discussed among other things the 'ultrabook':

Cette nouvelle sorte de mini-ordinateur portable se veut plus puissant que ceux de la génération actuelle – les notebooks, dont la popularité est en chute libre depuis la sortie de l’iPad.

Above, we're talking about a portable mini-computer which claims to be or is meant to be more powerful than…

Depending on the context, the expression se vouloir means 'to be meant to be', 'to claim to be', etc. Consider the use of the expression se vouloir in each of the following sentences:

  • Le blessé saignait abondamment mais le médecin se voulait rassurant. [= tried to be reassuring.]
  • Selon la publicité, ce produit se voulait (être) le meilleur du moment. [= was meant to be the best…]
  • Le Président explique sa décision car il se veut convaincant. [= likes to think of himself as…]
  • Ce nouveau smartphone se veut le plus pratique d’utilisation. [= … is meant to be the most practical [from the point of view] of usability.]

Comment(s)/question from sanscommentaire on Feb, 23 at 05:20

This is incredibly helpful! I'm really digging these posts! Merci beaucoup! C'est chouette!

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