French Avoir Expression – Avoir Les Moyens

There are many French avoir expressions that are really easy to use once you know how to conjugate the verb. However, many of these expressions are not translated literally from French to English. For example, the expression avoir faim means to be hungry. The literal translation is to have hunger.

In this post we’re going to take a close look at the expression avoir les moyens, and you’ll learn that even though it literally means to have the means, we often simply say afford in English. We’re going to look at a French sentence using this avoir expression, its translation in English, and a few questions that a student of mine recently asked me about different ways to translate it.


“J’aimerais partir en vacances, mais je ne sais pas si on aura les moyens de partir très loin.”

“I’d like to go on vacation, but I don’t know if we will be able to afford to go very far away.”

Student Question

AVOIR LES MOYENS – Could I also say… “On n’aura pas d’argent suffisant pour partir/aller…?” I find the use of les moyens is perhaps more informal and clearly less wordy. Are there any other ways to say this?

Jennifer’s Response

Avoir les moyens is definitely less wordy, but shouldn’t be considered informal.  The way you said it is also good.  There are just a few words that need to be shifted around, and there are many other ways to say “we won’t have the means to go”:

You wrote:  On n’aura pas d’argent suffisant pour partir / aller
Changes:  On n’aura pas suffisamment / assez d’argent pour partir

“On n’aura pas les moyens pour partir.”


Nous ne pourrons pas nous permettre de partir. 

We won’t be able to afford to leave.

Il nous sera impossible de partir faute de moyens. 

It will be impossible for us to leave due to lack of means.

Partir ne sera pas à notre portée financière. 

Leaving won’t be within our financial reach.

Nos ressources ne nous permettront pas de partir. 

Our resources won’t allow us to leave.

Nous ne disposons pas des fonds nécessaires pour partir. 

We don’t have the necessary funds to leave.

Extremely Informal / Slang

On ne pourra pas se casser faute de thunes. 

We won’t be able to leave because we’re broke.

Partir, c’est mort, on n’a pas les sous. 

Leaving is out of the question, we don’t have the money.

Ça va pas être possible de partir sans blé. 

It’s not going to be possible to leave without cash.

Pas moyen de partir sans un sou. 

No way to leave without a penny.

Download your free PDF of this lesson guide on the French avoir expression – avoir les moyens below.

Avoir Expression – Avoir Les Moyens – Lesson Guide

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