En vouloir à quelqu'un

French Expressions Analyzed and Explained

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 meLiteral translations

Literal Translations

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

Register

informal

Notes

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



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.

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