What is a Need?


A need is a requirement for something to exist or for someone to be able to function. A need is not a want, although people may often confuse the two terms. A person may have many needs, but only some of them are vital for life. A person’s basic physiological or lower order needs like food, water and safety must be met before higher order needs of belonging, esteem or self-actualization can become meaningful.

People use the term need to talk about an individual’s physical or mental requirements, as well as their financial needs. For example, a student applying for college financial aid must prove their demonstrated need by providing information about tuition, cost of living and other school related costs. The concept of need is also used to describe an individual’s ability to afford medical or dental treatment.

The most well-known academic theory of need involves the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow. He theorized that people have a series of psychological needs starting with physiological or lower order needs like food, water, and safety, and moving up to higher order needs like belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Maslow’s hierarchy is a popular model, but its application to specific contexts is challenging.

Generally, the word need is used as a verb, forming part of the phrase “to have need of.” In this sense, it means to be in need of something, or that it is necessary: We had a need for shelter. It can also be used as an adjective, meaning desirable or required: I have a strong need for privacy.

As an auxiliary verb, need forms the negative conjunction needn’t with a present participle, or as a preposition plus a past participle: He needed to be careful. It is also used as a modal verb, forming the positive phrase need to with a future tense: I need to be careful.

When writing an article, it is important to consider the audience’s level of need and desire for a particular topic. Keeping in mind the need of your audience will help you craft an article that is both informative and appealing to readers. For example, if you are writing an article about an interesting or controversial topic, it might be helpful to include some statistics or quotes that will pique the interest of your readership. This will help your reader understand your argument more clearly. You can also incorporate visual elements into your article to make it more appealing to the eye, such as bolding and bullet points. This way, the reader can quickly scan your article and get a general idea of what it is about. Then, they can decide whether or not to read the rest of the article. In addition, using variation in sentence length and paragraph length will add visual appeal to your piece. It will also help to ensure that each sentence flows naturally into the next. This will prevent your article from sounding too repetitive or monotonous.