мне нужно vs мне надо

Hi! I'd like to know the difference between мне нужно and мне надо. I know that they are quite synonyms, but there is maybe a little difference in the meaning. In this case, could you please suggest different examples or contexts? Actually I'm only a beginner but I'm very curious. Thanks in advance!
 
  • elemika

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I adree with Andrey, but if we'd try to distinguish them,
    as to me, надо could be more impersonal and more categorical,
    and it is used more often when there is the external necessity/need.
    Нужно could be more personal, when we want to express our own needs:

    Мне нужно умыться!
    Надо, надо умываться по утрам и вечерам...:)

    Хватит лениться! Надо учиться ! (всем положено учиться, everybody must study, (si deve studiare))
    Мне нужно учиться, чтобы получить работу. (учеба мне нужна, I need to study, (devo studiare)...)

    Эти правила надо знать. (Bсем положено знать, everybody must know these rules)
    Тебе нужно знать эти правила. ( You need to know these rules)

    There are some expressions where they are not interchangeable,
    and we could try to make some search here:
    1. Так ему и надо!
    2. Нет - и не надо!
    .........

    I hope, the others will help! :)
     
    Last edited:

    Andrey05

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hi Elemika, I agree with your description, but hesitate about the examples:

    Мне нужно учиться, чтобы получить работу.
    Мне надо учиться, чтобы получить работу.

    So, надо is just as personal here as нужно, isn't it? Same as in:

    Тебе нужно знать эти правила.
    Тебе надо знать эти правила.

    Moreover,

    Эти правила нужно знать!

    is intended for everybody, and нужно works perfectly well in there.

    To me, it's more the degree of politeness that differentiates нужно and надо, not personal vs. impersonal.
     

    Andrey05

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, when you say to an unemployed person:

    Работать надо!

    It's rather rude, any construction with нужно will sound more polite, I think.

    E.g.: Тебе (б) нужно позвонить в службу занятости.
     

    Ptak

    Senior Member
    Rußland
    Well, when you say to an unemployed person:

    Работать надо!

    It's rather rude, any construction with нужно will sound more polite, I think.

    E.g.: Тебе (б) нужно позвонить в службу занятости.
    What's wrong/less polite with:
    Тебе б надо позвонить в службу занятости. ?
     

    elemika

    Senior Member
    Russian
    They are the same thing to me.
    Hi Elemika, I agree with your description, but hesitate about the examples:

    Мне нужно учиться, чтобы получить работу.
    Мне надо учиться, чтобы получить работу.

    So, надо is just as personal here as нужно, isn't it? Same as in:

    Тебе нужно знать эти правила.
    Тебе надо знать эти правила.
    Well, let's try this way:
    -Гражданин, купите собаку!
    -Да не хочу...Мне не нужно...
    -Хочу - не хочу, нужно - не нужно...Надо! Пропадет ведь!

    Here "нужно" comes from inside ( у меня нет нужды в собаке, собака мне не нужна), "надо" сomes from outside (необходимость, существующая вне нас)
    I agree, they are very close, it's only my attempt
    Let's remember this one: надо - значит, надо!

    Andrey, as to my examples, the only thought I tried to express was this one:
    if I hear "Надо учиться!" I feel that it's decision of my parents or my chief or somebody else because they need my education..;
    if I hear "Нужно учиться!" I take it as advance, because they say that I/everybody need education.
    But of course, it's only my personal opinion
     

    Andrey05

    Senior Member
    Russian
    What's wrong/less polite with:
    Тебе б надо позвонить в службу занятости. ?
    Please consider reading my post carefully before replying. My point was that "Работать надо!" sounds rude, and any other construction with нужно will sound less rude, that's why I think надо sometimes has a stronger meaning (more categorical, as Elemika said).

    As for Тебе б надо / Тебе б нужно, the difference is subtle indeed, and it depends on the way you pronounce the whole sentence: if you stress the second part (позвонить в службу занятости), they both sound like an advice, but if you stress надо, it becomes slightly more compeling than with нужно, in my opinion.
     

    Andrey05

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, let's try this way:

    Andrey, as to my examples, the only thought I tried to express was this one:
    if I hear "Надо учиться!" I feel that it's decision of my parents or my chief or somebody else because they need my education..;
    if I hear "Нужно учиться!" I take it as advance, because they say that I/everybody need education.
    But of course, it's only my personal opinion
    Interesting.
    I agree with you completely in that Надо is sometimes more categorical (more compeling, less polite).
    A bit in the direction of "я хочу" vs. "я хотел бы", but not quite.
     

    Ptak

    Senior Member
    Rußland
    Please consider reading my post carefully before replying.
    Why do you think I did't read your post carefully?
    You said that "any construction with нужно will sound more polite" and gave an example, "Тебе (б) нужно позвонить в службу занятости."
    I asked what is less polite about the variant with "надо": "Тебе б надо позвонить в службу занятости". To me, they sound the same, and the degree of politeness or rudeness only depends on the intonation of the speaker, not on the word itself.
     

    Andrey05

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Why do you think I did't read your post carefully?
    You said that "any construction with нужно will sound more polite, I think" and gave an example, "Тебе (б) нужно позвонить в службу занятости."
    I asked what is less polite about the variant with "надо": "Тебе б надо позвонить в службу занятости". To me, they sound the same, and the degree of politeness or rudeness only depends on the intonation of the speaker, not on the word itself.
    Ptak, I said that any construction with нужно would sound more polite than "Работать надо!", and examplified this with "Тебе (б) нужно позвонить в службу занятости." Do you disagree?

    The point is, it's easy to say the two words are the same (in fact, that was my very first reply with some reservations), but there are some cases (which you also find in Elemika's examples) where those words are not interchangeable and where надо sounds less polite / more compeling. "Работать надо!" was my example.
     

    Ptak

    Senior Member
    Rußland
    but there are some cases (which you also find in Elemika's examples) where those words are not interchangeable
    Honestly, in all Elemika's examples they are interchangeable to me; probably some examples would sound a bit less idiomatic with another word ("Так ему и нужно!" vs. "Так ему и надо!"), but it wouldn't change the meaning and/or sound wrong.
    The only variant which would sound odd to me with "нужно" is "Нет - и не надо".
     

    Andrey05

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Honestly, in all Elemika's examples they are interchangeable to me; probably some examples would sound a bit less idiomatic with another word ("Так ему и нужно!" vs. "Так ему и надо!"), but it wouldn't change the meaning and/or sound wrong.
    The only variant which would sound odd to me with "нужно" is "Нет - и не надо".
    Нет - и не надо
    надо - значит, надо!

    I wouldn't use "Так ему и нужно!", although it might be a matter of taste.

    Also, to me "Работать нужно!" is not the same as "Работать надо!" (as far as the degree of rudeness is concerned).

    But let's see what the other forum members think.
     
    So the difference is very little and, as often, it depends on one's personal experience. It isn't so simple but I think I got the point! I find very interesting the fact of internal/external necessity:

    Here "нужно" comes from inside ( у меня нет нужды в собаке, собака мне не нужна), "надо" сomes from outside (необходимость, существующая вне нас)
    It reminds me what I studied at school about the difference between to must and to have to at the present... It was said to us something similar, probably that to must is more personal than to have to, even if they are quite always interchangeable at the present. Of course, it isn't the same, as the meaning of нужно/надо is nearer to the English to need. However, could you ever consider translating it with must/have to?
     

    elemika

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Of course, it isn't the same, as the meaning of нужно/надо is nearer to the English to need. However, could you ever consider translating it with must/have to?
    I'm not sure that нужно/надо = must/have to :eek:

    We are speaking about nuances :)

    Also, to me "Работать нужно!" is not the same as "Работать надо!"
    Надо работать! Надо заставить себя трудиться каждый день! Не хочется, но надо!!!
    Нужно работать!Столько всего интересного еще нужно сделать, лишь бы хватило времени! Не могу сидеть дома, мне нужно работать!

    Работать надо! Работать должны все!
    Работать нужно! Работа нужна всем!

    "Так ему и нужно!" vs. "Так ему и надо!"
    Так ему и надо , (он это заслужил)!
    Так ему и нужно, (ходить туда каждый день)!

    I doubt that they are interchangeable
     
    Last edited:

    Ptak

    Senior Member
    Rußland
    Так ему и надо , (он это заслужил)!
    Так ему и нужно, (ходить туда каждый день)!

    I doubt that they are interchangeable
    Check trough Google "так ему и нужно" and right away you'll see that it's used in the meaning of the first sentence ("он это заслужил").

    But you are right, in "Так ему и нужно, ходить туда каждый день!" one can't use "надо".
     

    WordOrder

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think these two words are duplets. All the given examples are far-fetched. They prove nothing and confuse only. The choice to use one world over another is the only matter of personal preferences.
    elemika said:
    Так ему и нужно, (ходить туда каждый день)!
    Generally, they say он́о ем́у н́ужно.

    Он́о ем́у н́ужно, ́ездить и собир́ать за теб́я все эти бум́ажки‽

    Here we can freely change н́ужно on н́адо without changing of the sense.

    Он́о ем́у н́адо, торч́ать там все выходн́ые вм́есто теб́я‽
     

    過客

    Member
    Русский
    Hello, I have come across this pretty old thread... I think, the results of the discussion can be summarized quite simply using English terms.


    The word "нужно" is about a need (please compare: "мне нужен гвоздь" — "I need a nail"); the word "надо" is about a must (please compare: "надобность" — "necessity", but "нужность" - "ability to be useful"). Of course, if I need to do something, then I must do this; and if I must do something, then I need to do this. Therefore, the words are interchangeable in terms of accuracy of describing the actual world: they both describe the same world, but from different positions. Yet there are questions of nuances and personal preferences: different people might prefer to make an emphasis on different aspects of the same situation. For example, it may be kind of rude to say to a person that he must do something; it may be more polite to say that there is a need for him to do this.

    Well, I kindly hope the thread won't become less pretty after my chiming in. :)


    Adieu!
     

    oirobi

    Senior Member
    Russian
    These two are perfectly interchangeable. The only slight difference is that надо should be avoided in more formal contexts, as Andrey05 pointed out.

    In the example above ("-Гражданин, купите собаку!.."), if you replace "надо" with "нужно" and vice versa, nothing will change.

    "Так ему/ей/им... и надо" is a set expression, so here the words are "cast in stone", and if you change it to "нужно" it will sound a bit weird, imho.
     
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