The French saying "Vouloir c'est pouvoir" explained

Get prepared to learn all the things you need to know about the inspirational proverb “Vouloir c’est pouvoir”.

It includes a complete guide of what it is and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. And because learning a new language is important, we also sprinkled useful things like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonyms and more!

Oh and more of these proverbs are available on this page and the ultimate list of all our French words guides on this page. Have fun!

Table of Contents

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French to English

How to pronounce?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does vouloir c'est pouvoir mean?


This is one of the simplest and most popular French sayings, claiming that when we really want something, we can reach it.

This popular proverb expresses the idea that a powerful will is all we need to achieve our goals. That the only barrier between us and our goals is how much we want it.

How to use

This proverb is mostly supposed to be a personal mantra, a guideline to keep you motivated. But you can also use it during a conversation, for example, to motivate a friend or a relative: “N’oublie pas que vouloir c’est pouvoir” (“Don’t forget that to want is to be able“) or “N’abandonne pas, vouloir c’est pouvoir” (“Don’t give up, to want is to be able“).

Fun stuff

We generally attribute this proverb and the variations below to Napoléon Bonaparte. Even though they became so common that we tend to forget it.


  • Quand on veut, on peut. (“When you want, you can“)
  • Quand on veut on peut, quand on peut on doit. (“When you want you can, when you can you must“)
  • Quand on veut constamment, fermement, on réussit toujours. (“When you want constantly, firmly, you always succeed“)

Everyday life dialogue example

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue text

” On va courir aujourd’hui ? “
” Up for a run today? “
” J’ai envie, mais je ne sais pas… “
” I want to, but I don’t know… “
” Vouloir c’est pouvoir. “
” To want, is to be able. “
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