Ask Difference

Need vs. Needs — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 12, 2023
"Need" is both a noun signifying a requirement and a base form of the verb meaning to require. "Needs" is either the third-person singular form of the verb "need" or a plural noun indicating multiple requirements.
Need vs. Needs

Difference Between Need and Needs

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Key Differences

"Need" serves as both a noun and a verb in English. As a noun, it describes something essential or a requirement. For instance, "There is a need for clean water." As a verb, "need" signifies the act of requiring something, like "I need a pen." On the other hand, "needs" also functions as both a noun and a verb but slightly differently.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023
When "needs" functions as a verb, it is specific to the third-person singular form, matching with subjects like "he," "she," or "it." For example, "She needs help." It indicates a requirement or necessity in the same way "need" does but is confined to a specific grammatical person. When used as a noun, "needs" is simply the plural form of "need," denoting multiple requirements or necessities.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023
The word "need" can be used in various tenses and forms, including "needed" for the past and "needing" for the continuous form. In contrast, "needs" is restricted to the present tense when serving as a verb, and it's used in the context of a single subject requiring something. As a noun, however, "needs" can be used to describe multiple requirements without the limitation of tense.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023
Both "need" and "needs" can be quantified in specific contexts. For instance, "The community has several needs" emphasizes the multiplicity of requirements. Similarly, you might hear phrases like "basic needs" or "daily needs" to specify the type or frequency of the requirements. "Need" can be quantified as well, as in "The need for food is urgent."
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Noun, Verb
Noun, Verb
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Sep 12, 2023
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Tense

Various
Present (as verb)
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Subject Agreement

All subjects
Third-person singular
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Plurality

Singular (as noun)
Plural (as noun)
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Examples

"I need," "A need"
"He needs," "Basic needs"
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Compare with Definitions

Need

A requirement or necessity.
Food is a basic need.
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Needs

Third-person singular form of "need."
She needs assistance.
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Need

Lack of something desired.
There is a need for more volunteers.
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Needs

Multiple requirements.
His needs are food, water, and shelter.
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Sep 12, 2023

Need

To require something.
I need a car for the trip.
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Needs

Items or conditions necessary for well-being.
The country's needs include healthcare.
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Need

Urgency in requiring something.
The need for action is immediate.
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Needs

Essential requirements.
Meeting the basic needs is crucial.
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Need

Condition of poverty.
Families in need receive aid.
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Needs

Of necessity; necessarily
We must needs go.
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

A need is something that is necessary for an organism to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants.
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Jun 02, 2018

Needs

(archaic) Either directly or indirectly preceded or followed by an auxiliary verb, often must: of necessity or need; necessarily, indispensably.
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

A condition or situation in which something must be supplied in order for a certain condition to be maintained or a desired state to be achieved
Crops in need of water.
A child's need for affection.
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Needs

Plural of need
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Need

Something required or wanted; a requisite
"Those of us who led the charge for these women's issues ... shared a common vision in the needs of women" (Olympia Snowe).
Tayyaba Rehman
Jun 02, 2018

Needs

Of necessity; necessarily; indispensably; - often with must, and equivalent to of need.
A man must needs love mauger his head.
And he must needs go through Samaria.
He would needs know the cause of his repulse.
Tayyaba Rehman
Jun 02, 2018

Need

Necessity; obligation
There is no need for you to go.
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Needs

In such a manner as could not be otherwise;
It is necessarily so
We must needs by objective
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

A condition of poverty or misfortune
The family is in dire need.
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Needs

Indicating urgency in multiple requirements.
The urgent needs must be addressed now.
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Sep 12, 2023

Need

To be under the necessity of or the obligation to
They need not come. You needn't be concerned.
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

To have need of; require
The family needs money. We need to get some more paint.
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

To have an obligation (to do something)
You need to clean up your room.
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Need

To be subject (to an action) by obligation
Bags need to be stowed underneath the seat in front of you.
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Need

To want to be subject to
We don't need another lecture on the subject.
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Need

To be in need or want.
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Need

To be necessary.
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Need

A requirement for something; something needed.
There's no need to speculate; we can easily find out for sure.
She grew irritated with his constant need for attention.
Our needs are not being met.
I've always tried to have few needs beyond food, clothing and shelter.
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

Lack of means of subsistence; poverty; indigence; destitution.
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Need

(transitive) To have an absolute requirement for.
Living things need water to survive.
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Need

(transitive) To want strongly; to feel that one must have something.
After ten days of hiking, I needed a shower and a shave.
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Need

(modal verb) To be obliged or required (to do something).
You need not go if you don't want to.
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Need

(intransitive) To be required; to be necessary.
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Need

To be necessary (to someone).
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Need

A state that requires supply or relief; pressing occasion for something; necessity; urgent want.
And the city had no need of the sun.
I have no need to beg.
Be governed by your needs, not by your fancy.
Tayyaba Rehman
Jun 02, 2018

Need

Want of the means of subsistence; poverty; indigence; destitution.
Famine is in thy cheeks;Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes.
Tayyaba Rehman
Jun 02, 2018

Need

That which is needful; anything necessary to be done; (pl.) necessary things; business.
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

Situation of need; peril; danger.
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Need

To be in want of; to have cause or occasion for; to lack; to require, as supply or relief.
Other creatures all day longRove idle, unemployed, and less need rest.
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Need

To be wanted; to be necessary.
When we have done it, we have done all that is in our power, and all that needs.
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

Of necessity. See Needs.
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Need

A condition requiring relief;
She satisfied his need for affection
God has no need of men to accomplish His work
There is a demand for jobs
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Need

Anything that is necessary but lacking;
He had sufficient means to meet his simple needs
I tried to supply his wants
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Need

The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior;
We did not understand his motivation
He acted with the best of motives
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Jun 02, 2018

Need

A state of extreme poverty or destitution;
Their indigence appalled him
A general state of need exists among the homeless
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Need

Require as useful, just, or proper;
It takes nerve to do what she did
Success usually requires hard work
This job asks a lot of patience and skill
This position demands a lot of personal sacrifice
This dinner calls for a spectacular dessert
This intervention does not postulates a patient's consent
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Need

Have need of;
This piano wants the attention of a competent tuner
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Need

Have or feel a need for;
Always needing friends and money
Tayyaba Rehman
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Common Curiosities

What does Needs mean?

"Needs" is either the third-person singular form of the verb "need" or a plural noun indicating multiple requirements.
Tayyaba Rehman
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Can Need be used for all subjects?

Yes, "need" can be used with all subjects like I, you, we, they, he, she, it.
Tayyaba Rehman
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Can Need be pluralized?

As a noun, "need" can have a plural form but is usually used in the singular.
Tayyaba Rehman
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Is Need only used in the present tense?

No, "need" can appear in various tenses like "needed" for past tense and "needing" for continuous.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Is Needs always about multiple requirements?

As a noun, yes; as a verb, it can indicate a single requirement.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Can Need be quantified?

Yes, you can speak of "a great need" or "several needs."
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Can Need be an action?

Yes, when used as a verb, it describes the act of requiring something.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Is Needs used in negative sentences?

In negative sentences, "need" is more commonly used regardless of the subject.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

When is Needs used in a sentence?

"Needs" is used with third-person singular subjects like he, she, and it.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Can Needs be singular?

As a noun, "needs" is plural; as a verb, it agrees with a singular subject.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

What does Need mean?

"Need" can be a noun signifying a requirement or a verb meaning to require something.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Is Needs only in present tense?

As a verb, "needs" is confined to the present tense.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Is Needs only about essential requirements?

Typically, but context can provide more specific meanings.
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Does Need always imply urgency?

Not always; the context determines the level of urgency.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

Is Needs always plural when used as a noun?

Yes, "needs" as a noun indicates multiple requirements or necessities.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 12, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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