What Is a Need?

A need is a general feeling of dissatisfaction, typically in a given context. Needs are contrasted with wants, which are desires or wishes. Needs are a common subject of study in the fields of philosophy, psychology, sociology, biology, economics, and social work.

The difference between need and want is that needs are essential requirements for survival or well-being, while wants are related to personal preferences or goals. For example, if you walk for one hour in the hot sun, your throat will become dry. To prevent this, you need to drink some water. But if you wish to drink some cool soda, it is not necessary. You can go to a shop and buy it for yourself.

People need to have the resources for a life of safety, health and self-esteem. They also need to have the opportunity for meaningful relationships and participation in a societal setting that offers mutual respect and dignity. This translates to the ability to make informed choices in order to achieve their own vision of what is good, and to contribute their knowledge, skills and talents.

Often, people confuse what they need and want. Some of these distinctions are clear: primary needs are those that are vital for survival such as food, water and shelter. When they are not met, a person can die. Secondary needs are a little more ambiguous, such as the desire for a job that pays a living wage or a house that provides privacy and security.

A tertiary need might be the desire for a car that can get from point A to point B without breaking down, or the desire to spend money on brand clothes or expensive vacations. Generally speaking, people can differentiate their needs from their wants, but sometimes they do not realize it and may be caught off guard when they are told that something they think of as a need is actually a want.

Need is a semi-modal verb, which means it can be used as an interrogative, negative or a command. When it is negative, it usually implies that someone should not do something or that they are under an obligation to do something. It can also be used to express an opinion. For example, you can say “I have a strong opinion about this topic,” but it would be more effective to write, “I think we should do something different.”

A useful way to begin an article is to make an outline. This can help you figure out which information goes where, and how much of each component should be included in the final piece. There are various templates that exist, but a typical outline consists of an introduction, three supporting paragraphs and a conclusion. This format allows for a balanced argument and is effective in grabbing the reader’s attention. This is especially true if you have a topic that is highly controversial or of interest to many readers. This is why it is important to choose a subject that interests you, as this will be contagious to your audience.