Italian Phrase: Ho bisogno di te. (I need you.)

This week’s Italian phrase can sound romantic, sweet or desperate depending on how it is said, and to whom it is directed!

Ho bisogno di te!

I need you!

cover image with the phrase and its translation written on a notepad

Ho bisogno di

In Italian, needs are expressed using the construction avere bisogno di which literally translates as to have need of. It can be followed by a noun or a verb, as in the following examples:

avere bisogno di tempo = to need time
avere bisogno di mangiare = to need to eat

In the first person indicative form, avere (to have) becomes ho (I have).


is a tonic pronoun (pronome tonico) that means you. This kind of pronoun is always accompanied by a preposition – in this case di (of).

Here is how this phrase would be expressed with the rest of the pronouns:

Ho bisogno di me.
(I need me/myself.)

Ho bisogno di te.
(I need you.) – informal

Ho bisogno di lui.
(I need him.)

Ho bisogno di lei.
(I need her.)

Ho bisogno di Lei.
(I need you.) – formal

Ho bisogno di noi.
(I need us.)

Ho bisogno di voi.
(I need you.) – plural

Ho bisogno di loro.
(I need them.)

Lo sai che ho bisogno di te. Non ce la faccio ad andare avanti da solo.

You know I need you. I can’t keep going on my own.

Happy daughter embracing her mom, enjoying time together
Ho bisogno di te, mamma! = I need you, mom!

In Italian, another way of translating ‘to need‘ is with the verb servire, but it tends to be used for things rather than people. In fact, in a romantic context, one should never use this verb because it strongly implies the “usage” of another person, and can therefore sound very rude.

There is one situation where you might hear it, however, and that is when someone in a superior position demands the immediate assistance of a subordinate.

Mi serve il tecnico qui, subito! – Non ho il suo numero. – Trovalo! Deve venire qui a risolvere questo casino immediatamente!

I need the technician here, right now! – I don’t have his number. – Find it! He needs to come here and fix this mess immediately!

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