The definition of missing

If an object is missing then that means the object cannot be found because it isn’t where it should be. For example, the sentence “I missing my keys.” = “My keys cannot be found because they aren’t in the location where they should be.”

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Click here for the definition of missing

The definition of lacking

If an object is lacking then that means there is an insufficient amount of that object. For example, the sentence “Butter 🧈 is lacking in the sauce” = “there is an insufficient amount of butter in the sauce”.

Another example is “I’m lacking by £10." which equals “I’m insufficient by £10.” that is to say “I need £10 more (to do the action that I want to do).” For example, if I wanted to buy something which costs £50 but I only have £40 then “I’m lacking by £10." = “I’m insufficient by £10.” = “I need £10 more (in order to buy it).”

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Click here for the definition of lacking

« Il me manque 10000 euros. »

One of the definitions of manquer Larousse gives is

Être en moins, ne pas être là où il faudrait : Un bouton manque à sa veste. Il manque deux élèves. Il lui manque un bras.

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2 questions

  1. So I understand the part which say « ne pas être là où il faudrait » which means “to not be where it should be”. So based on that part I feel like one of the meanings of « Il me manque 10000 euros. » is “I’m missing 10000 euros.” that is to say “My 10000 euros are not in the place where they should be.” Is this correct?

  2. I don’t completely understand the part which says « Être en moins » however I feel like the second meaning of « Il me manque 10000 euros. » is “I’m lacking by 10000 euros.” which equals “I’m insufficient by 10000 euros” which equals “I need 10000€ more (to do what I want to do).” Is this correct?

I guess I’m looking for “yes or no” answers.😅

I understand that Larousse is weird sometimes and that I should use Le Robert. However for the verb manquer, I find Le Robert difficult to read.

Lastly, thank you so much for answering my two questions guys! 😊

2 Answers 2


You overlook the pronoun influence on the meaning:

Il me manque 10000 euros : I'm short €10k.

Il manque 10000 euros : €10k are missing (from my account/for the deal to be concluded/...)

In any case, the verb manquer in il me manque 10000 euros doesn't have two meanings in French. It has one meaning that merges the meanings of both "to miss" and "to lack".

You need to know the context to select the right verb to use in English but in French, the meaning is just "10000 euros are not there". The fact they should have been there or not is a detail that is not expressed and does not need to be.

The TLFi definition of manquer encompasses both to miss and to lack definitions:

Faire défaut; être absent là où on devrait être, ou être en quantité insuffisante; être en moins dans un ensemble.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Jan 26, 2021 at 0:15
  • This is quite challenging for me but I think I’m beginning to understand what your saying! Two meanings merged into one definition has enlightened me! :) Thank you for bearing with me @jlliagre !!! I think my last issue is that you say “The fact they should have been there or not is a detail that is not expressed and does not need to be.” but very clearly in the definition that you provided it states « être absent là où on devrait être, ... ». devrait être = should be.
    – SFR
    Jan 26, 2021 at 3:56
  • There are four parts in the definition. As I wrote it encompasses both miss and lack. You picked one part close to the former but être en quantité insuffisante is closer to the latter.
    – jlliagre
    Jan 26, 2021 at 8:02

Unfortunately I find the Larousse definition to be "lacking" :-)

  1. The most common usage of "manquer" is to describe something missing, starting the sentence with the pronoun "il" used in an impersonal way. I guess this is the meaning that Larousse strangely describes as "être en moins":

1.1) "il manque de l'argent dans le coffre" : some money is missing in the coffer.

1.2) "il manque une volonté politique pour résoudre le changement climatique" : a political will is missing if we want to solve climate change.

1.3) "il manque le courage à ses qualités" : courage is missing in his qualities; courage is not one of his qualities; he lacks courage.

  1. One can also specify who is missing the stuff that is being missed, still using the impersonal pronoun "il":

2.1) "il lui manque de l'argent" : some of his money is missing; BUT IT COULD ALSO MEAN: he lacks money.

2.2) "il me manque de la volonté pour résoudre le changement climatique" : I lack a strong will to solve climate change.

2.3) "il nous manque le courage" : we lack the courage.

  1. One can also use "manquer" for directly describing what is missing, without using the impersonal pronoun "il":

3.1 "L'argent manque." : money is missing.

3.2 "De l'argent manque." : some money is missing.

  1. One can also use "manquer" for some action that was performed uncorrectly or in an unsatisfactory way. In this case, we do not need the impersonal pronoun "il" :

4.1 "le tireur a manqué sa cible" : the shooter missed his target

4.2 "le projet a manqué ses objectifs" : the project missed its goals.

Please note that, in all these cases, the Larousse definitions "être en moins" or "ne pas être là où il faudrait" sound weird and unhelpful to me.

And now a little quizz: what is the difference between "il l'a manquée" et "il lui a manqué" ?


  • "il l'a manquée" means "il a manqué (elle)", so 'he missed her' in the sense of 'the shooter has missed his target'
  • "il lui a manqué" means "il a manqué (à elle)", so 'she missed him' in the sense of 'she was fond of him'

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