Miss vs manquer 2

Following my previous post, let’s look at differences between insufficiency, absence and lack. In French, insufficiency is often expressed with the impersonal third person “Il” or “ça” or a passive.

Absence vs lack

The result is the same, but isn’t there a nuance in how we see things (when analyzing, not day-to-day choices!)-

“Il manque du sel dans la soupe”, “Ca manque de sel”, or “La soupe manque de sel”. In short, there isn’t enough salt in the soup. The idea is that the soup is “lacking in savory”. In terms of savory, it’s missing something.

Salt being a mass noun, in English we’ll say there is too much or not enough salt, or too salty. We could also say, “There is a little something missing from this soup…“, the something being salt, flavor or spices, etc.


  • Il manque un bouton de ta chemise. A button is missing from your shirt. French notes your shirt lacks in something while English notes the absence of that button.
  • Il lui manque une case, He has a loose screw or the delightful, He’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic, which expresses insufficiency with flair.
  • Money is missing from my wallet would be, Il manque de l’argent (dans mon porte-monnaie). There is no doubt that initially there was money in the wallet. However, it’s gone. However, il me manque de l’argent is context dependent and generally means I don’t have enough money as opposed to Some money is missing.

When might you use these three examples ?

  • Il me manque encore quelque chose.
  • Le temps me manque.
  • Il me manque des informations.

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