I want to write as:

One should buy as per the needs.

(Here, by needs I mean useful and necessary things for personal, family, house or office things)

Man sollte nur nach Bedarf kaufen.

Is the above sentence correct?

Das Bedürfnis also means the need.

I have already checked the dictionary and forum answers.
Refer: When to use “Bedürfnis” and “Bedarf”?

As per the above link, I understand:
Das Bedürfnis is the needs we desire.
Der Bedarf is the need.
It's also given that der Bedarf is the demand.

Die Anforderung is the requirement specially the requirements in the job role.
If we have to speak about the basic needs of life, then will it be die Anforderung or der Bedarf or das Bedürfnis?

I am slightly confused with the usage form.

  • 2
    Basic needs of life is already answered in the referred question - it is Bedürfnis. Your example translation is not wrong, but ambiguous. It covers at least the scenario, where you buy goods you really need, but too many of them (as e.g. noodles in early lockdown phases), a phenomenon called Hamsterkäufe.
    – guidot
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 7:18
  • @guidot Yes, the scenario is wherein we should not buy more than required. Be it daily grocery or the modern devices. Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 10:35

2 Answers 2


"Bedürfnis" is more like a feeling or longing, a "want" if you will.

"Bedarf" is a factual need, i.e. something you can put a number on to fulfill a certain presupposition.

Man sollte nur nach Bedarf kaufen. Ich habe aber das Bedürfnis nach Versorgungssicherheit, deshalb kaufe ich auf Vorrat.

  • I don't agree. "Bedürfnisse", at least in plural, doesn't necessarily mean a feeling, it is also used in a factual sense. Example: "Hartz IV deckt nicht einmal grundlegende Bedürfnisse wie angemessenes Wohnen und gesundes Essen ab, sagt die Diakonie." diakonie.de/journal/…
    – HalvarF
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:18
  • 1
    A different example: in German gun laws, "Bedürfnis" is used to denote if a person is a sport shooter who has a need for buying a gun in order to be able to participate in certain shooting disciplines. She has to proof regular training and get the endorsement of her shooting sports association to have a "Bedürfnis" acknowledged by the authorities. A feeling of need is expressly not sufficient here, that's the whole point.
    – HalvarF
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:18
  • @HalvarF es war vielleicht etwas überspitzt dargestellt, aber im wesentlichen ist das schon richtig. Der Sportschütze möchte ja schießen, er muss es nicht. Es ist also ein begründeter Wunsch.
    – Daniel
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:25
  • Wohingegen die Bundeswehr, zur Erfüllung ihrere Aufgaben, einen nach bestimmten Kriterien klar zu ermittelnden Bedarf an Feuerwaffen hat.
    – Daniel
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:30
  • Ich habe das mit "acknowlegded by the authorities" vielleicht schlecht formuliert: der Sportschütze hat im Sinn des Waffengesetzes erst dann ein "Bedürfnis", wenn die Bedingungen erfüllt sind. Die Bedingungen legen fest, ob ein Bedürfnis besteht oder nicht. Das Bedürfnis ist nicht der Wunsch des Sportschützen, der dann anerkannt wird, sondern zuerst besteht vielleicht ein Wunsch, aber erst die Bedingungen, die erfüllt werden müssen. machen den Wusch zu einem Bedürfnis. Das Wort Bedürfnis wird hier also genau dazu benutzt, und den "need" vom "want" abzugrenzen.
    – HalvarF
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 12:38

The differences between these words are subtle. You could use each of them depending on context.

If you talk about the basic needs of life, "die Bedürfnisse" would be the best translation. Of course, like in the English phrase, what is actually understood by that can wildly differ, but it does cover needs, not only desires. It especially covers the basic needs like food and shelter which I wouldn't call "needs we desire". On the other hand, it is widely used to refer to all kinds of needs. ("Der Zoom-Sprachkurs deckt mein Bedürfnis nach besonders viel Übung im aktiven Sprechen.")

Much like with the English word "need", the singular "Bedürfnis" only refers to a single need.

"Bedarf", on the other hand, is a more concrete need in a situation. I'd say that, while "Bedürfnisse" tends more to "necessities", "Bedarf" tends more to "demand" and is more bound to a time than Bedürfnis. If you'd like to also express that one should only buy when the need arises, then "Bedarf" is the better word. As you probably know, "Bedarf" is used in singular, there is no plural for general use. (There is a plural "Bedarfe", but it is only used in special professional contexts like budgeting.)

"Anforderungen" only fits in this context if you're talking about business. I would probably not use it as a translation for "needs", but as a translation for "requirements". It implies someone or some goal you'd like to achieve that is requiring something, for example a customer (or your business model) demand that you buy some machinery or hire a certain role. If you mean the sentence "one should buy as per the needs" in a business sense, "Anforderungen" could be appropriate.

  • regarding "'Bedarf' is always singular, there is no plural." That's not true. There is the plural "Bedarfe". Just google "unterschiedliche Bedarfe", also Duden mentions the plural, marking it as "Fachsprache": duden.de/rechtschreibung/Bedarf
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 10:57
  • 1
    Yes, I know that. Someone made up a plural at some point because they felt they needed that in some specialized bureaucracy contexts. It's not a plural that you can use for all meanings of Bedarf. Use "Bedarfe" only if you exactly know what you're doing, or you will sound stupid. Edited the answer to be a little more clear.
    – HalvarF
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 11:59
  • Actually, "someone made it up" is true for any linguistic phenomenon :)
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 13:01
  • That's true. And also, if I told German learners on the internet that "Quark" is always used in singular someone would definitely hint to perticle physics. :)
    – HalvarF
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 13:18
  • @HalvarF Thank you, this was understandable answer :) Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 5:17

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