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The French saying "Vouloir c'est pouvoir" explained

You are going to find out all the things you want to know about the inspirational saying "Vouloir c'est pouvoir". It includes a complete explanation of what it is and how to use it in a conversation with an audio example. And also the cool stuff we added like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonyms and more!

French to English

  • Translation : Where there's a will, there's a way

  • Literal meaning : To want, is to be able

  • Register : Neutral - Inspirational

How to pronounce?



  • IPA : / vulwaʁ sɛ puvwaːʁ. /

aesthetic french quote vouloir cest pouvoir

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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.


↓ Example in a story with slow French audio ↓

Finally, let's see an example in a parallel story with slow audio.

Pourquoi est-elle en colère ?

Why is she mad?

OliviaC'est très étrange...
It's very weird...
ThéoQuoi ?
OliviaMon amie Emily ne répond pas à mes appels...
My friend Emily doesn't answer my calls...
ThéoPeut-être qu'elle est occupée ?
Maybe she's busy?
OliviaJ'ai appelé au moins dix fois pendant les trois derniers jours...
I have called at least ten times in the last three days...
ThéoPeut-être qu'elle n'est pas en ville ?
Maybe she's not in town?
OliviaNon, la dernière fois que nous avons parlé, elle a dit qu'elle serait en ville ce mois-ci.
No, the last time we spoke she said she would be in town this month.
ThéoTu penses qu'elle t'évite ?
Do you think she's avoiding you?


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Qui vivra verra


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On ne peut pas plaire à tout le monde

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