En vouloir à quelqu'un

Girls in an argument standing back-to-back

Jamie Grill / Getty Images

The French verb vouloir (to want) takes on whole new meaning with the addition of the adverbial pronoun en.

Expression

En vouloir à quelqu'un / Ne m'en veux pas

Pronunciation 

[a(n) voo lwa ra kel koo(n)] / [neu ma(n) veu pa]

Meanings

to be mad/angry at, hold a grudge against someone / don't be mad at me

Literal Translations

to want some from someone / don't want some from me

Register

informal

Notes

1. When used with a person, en vouloir à means "to be mad at (someone)" or "to hold a grudge against (someone)." Note that the normal grammar rules apply: the verb vouloir must be conjugated for the appropriate grammatical person and tense/mood, and à may be followed by a noun or replaced by an indirect object pronoun. A few possibilities:

  • Ne m'en veux pas. / Ne m'en voulez pas.
    Don't be mad at me, Don't hold it against me.
  • Ne nous / lui en veux pas.
    Don't be mad at us / him, Don't hold it against us / him.
  • N'en voulez pas à Arlette.
    Don't be mad at Arlette, Don't hold it against Arlette.
  • J'espère que tu ne m'en voudras pas.
    I hope you won't hold it against me.
  • Tu m'en veux ? / Tu ne m'en veux pas ?
    Are you mad at me? / No hard feelings?

You can specify what the person is mad about with de plus a noun or the past infinitive:

  • J'en veux à Pierre de sa tromperie.
    I'm mad at Pierre for his deception.
  • Il m'en veut d'avoir menti.
    He's mad at me for lying.

2. Less commonly, en vouloir à can be used with a thing, to mean "to want, to be after (that thing)."

  • Il en veut à notre argent.
    He's after our money.
  • Elle en voulait à ce poste.
    She wanted this job.
Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Team, ThoughtCo. "En vouloir à quelqu'un." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2021, thoughtco.com/en-vouloir-a-quelquun-1371199. Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, September 2). En vouloir à quelqu'un. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/en-vouloir-a-quelquun-1371199 Team, ThoughtCo. "En vouloir à quelqu'un." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/en-vouloir-a-quelquun-1371199 (accessed October 19, 2021).