How do you say I need in Italian?

How exactly do you say I need in Italian? Are there more ways to say it?

In this lesson, we will take a look at the different ways you can translate this sentence into Italian. Read on to learn them all!

Let’s start! Iniziamo!

how do you say i need in italian - let's start - iniziamo - athlete woman running

How do you say I need in Italian?

Mi serve…

Mi serve is how you most commonly translate the sentence I need in Italian.

Mi serve…
I need…

This common sentence in Italian is made of two elements.

Mi
Indirect object pronoun for “me”

Serve
Present tense conjugation of the verb servire, to need or to serve

surprised kid

Mi serve can either be followed by either an infinitive verb or a noun. For example, you could say…

Mi serve una tua firma in fondo a questo foglio.
I need your signature at the bottom of this paper.

Mi serve sapere quanti studenti ci sono nella tua classe.
I need to know how many students are in your class.

Mi serve un nuovo computer. Questo è troppo lento.
I need a new computer. This one is too slow.

Mi serve una pausa dallo studio.
I need a break from studying.

kid exhausted from doing homework

Serve is the third-person singular conjugation of servire, to need, in the present tense. If we had to literally translate mi serve into English, it would be something like “to me it needs”. I need in Italian works very differently than English.

Present tense conjugation for servire

miserve
tiserve
gli / leserve
ciserve
viserve
a loro / gliserve

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For example, you could say…

Ti serve una mano a sollevare quegli scatoloni?
Do you need help lifting those boxes?

Marta ha deciso di fare tutto da sola. Non le serve aiuto.
Marta has decided to do everything by herself. She doesn’t need any help.

Ci serve un cacciavite per smontare questa libreria.
We need a screwdriver to disassemble this bookcase.

red screwdriver

Ho bisogno di…

Ho bisogno di is another common translation for I need in Italian, but it works somewhat differently than mi serve. Ho bisogno di literally translates to “I have need of”. Bisogno is a masculine noun and it means “need”, while ho is a conjugation of the verb avere, “to have”.

Ho bisogno di can either introduce an infinitive verb or a noun, just as mi serve.

Ho bisogno di…
I need…

For example, you could hear…

Ho bisogno di una sedia più comoda.
I need a more comfortable chair.

Non ho più bisogno di questo cacciavite.
I no longer need this screwdriver.

Ho bisogno di camminare un po’ e di mangiare qualcosa.
I need to walk a little bit and eat something.

old man walking

And that’s it, now you know the many ways to say I need in Italian!


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