How does "J'ai envie de" relate to "Je veux" and "Je voudrais"?
I thought that (1) "veux" is stronger than "voudrais" (and less polite when making a request) and that (2) "j'ai envie de" is closer to "voudrais". Is that incorrect?
Because "I want to go for a walk" is accepted as a translation (as is "I feel like going for a walk"), but "I would like to go for a walk" isn't (as is "I fancy going for a walk").
The expression "avoir envie de" uses the noun "envie" (craving/urge) to express in English "to feel like" (US) or "to fancy" (UK) something. It can be followed by a noun or a verb. J'ai envie d'une banane = I feel like a banana. Or, J'ai envie de me promener" = I feel like going for a walk (or) I feel like taking a walk. It is sometimes translated as "want", but it is a bit more subtle than that.
If it is any consolation to you, "avoir envie de" is sometimes translated as "to want", as I stated previously. But to demonstrate one's understanding, it is generally translated as "feel like" (US) or "fancy" (UK) to show that it is a different expression than "vouloir".
[Edit: To some people, everything they do is based on feelings. Although the power of one's mind, reason, and intellect are frequently the forces at play. Emotions and feelings can influence the intellect, of course. Consider these expressions of "want":
- I want to finish this book today.
- I want you to take the trash out to the bin.
- I don't want to spend that kind of money on it.
And finally, discover what this expression means: Love is a decision.