"I need to find rice."
Translation:Мне нужно найти рис.
Easy. It is not a verb:). In fact, it is a predicate word (arguably, a short adjective).
Use with VERBS
Use the Dative form if you need to state the person (or object) in need. Use an infinitive after нужно:
- Мне нужно спать. = I need to sleep, I have to sleep etc.
- Нам нужно учиться. = We need to study.
- Вам нужно купить сумку. = You need to buy a bag.
You can also use надо, which means pretty much the same. We are not teaching Dative this early in the course, so these two words are only used with pronouns for now.
Use with NOUNS
Only нужно can be used. Again, the sentence will use a Dative "experiencer" of a need. The required object will be the subject, so you'll have to use the appropriate gender form: нужен, нужна, нужно, нужны:
- Мне нужен велосипед. = I need a bicycle.
- Мне нужна вода. = I need water.
- Мне нужно яблоко. = I need an apple.
- Мне нужны яблоки. = I need apples.
«Надо» does not have gendered forms, and is not generally used with nouns (except in a bit more advanced structures).