The French Word Tout and Its Variations

Learn all about the useful French word tout

Hands up in convertible truck
"avoir toute liberté" (to be completely free). Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Tout is one of the most common words in the French language. It has four possible forms:

  singularplural  
 masculinetouttous  
 femininetoutetoutes  
     
Tout is also one of the most flexible French words, as it can be an adjective, adverb, noun, or pronoun. Take a look at this summary of the different parts of speech that tout can represent and the forms that it can have in each one, then click on the links for a detailed explanation of usage, forms, and pronunciation of each part of speech.
     
  masculinefeminineinvariable
  singularpluralsingularplural 
        
 adjectivetouttoustoutetoutes 
        
 adverb  toutetoutestout
        
 noun    le tout
        
 pronoun tous toutestout

Tout as an adjective has four forms (tout, toute, tous, toutes) and various meanings. It can be used to modify all of the following:

Nouns

   à tout âge     at any age
   avoir toute liberté     to be completely free
   en tout cas     in any case
   tout enfant     every child
   toutes taxes comprises     with tax

Definite articles

   tous les enfants     all the children
   tout le temps     all the time
   tous les jours     every day
   tous les deux jours     every other day
   toute la journée     all day (jour vs journée)
   tous les 36 du mois     once in a blue moon

Possessive adjectives

   prendre tout son temps     to take one's time
   tous mes amis     all my friends
   toute ma famille     my whole family
   toutes nos affaires     all of our things

Demonstrative adjectives

   tous ces gens     all these people
   toute cette tristesse     all this sadness
   tout ce temps     all this time
   toutes ces idées     all of these ideas

Pronunciation

The different forms of adjectives are pronounced as follows:

   tout - [tu]
   tous - [tu]
   toute - [tut]
   toutes - [tut]

All about Tout: Introduction | Adjective | Adverb | Noun | Pronoun | Test

Tout as an adverb is nearly always invariable* and can be used with adverbs, adjectives, and the prepositions à and de.

Adverbs

   tout doucement     very quietly
   tout droit     straight ahead
   tout haut     very loudly
   tout loin d'ici     very far from here
   tout près     very near

Adjectives

Normally French adverbs are invariable, but tout is a special case. It sometimes requires agreement, depending on the gender and first letter of the adjective it modifies.



1) With all masculine adjectives, singular and plural, tout is invariable:

   Il est tout seul.     He's all alone.
   Ils sont tout seuls.     They are all alone.
   Nous sommes tout étonnés.     We are very surprised.

2) With feminine adjectives, singular and plural, that begin with h muet or a vowel, tout is invariable:

   J'ai mangé la tarte tout entière.     I ate the whole pie.
   J'ai mangé les tartes tout entières.     I ate the whole pies.
   Elle est tout heureuse.     She is very happy.
   Elles sont tout heureuses.     They are very happy.
   C'est une tout autre histoire.     That's a whole other story.

3) *With feminine adjectives that begin with h aspiré or consonant, tout needs agreement: it must be feminine as well as singular or plural, depending on the number of the adjective:

   Elle est toute petite.     She is very small.
   Elles sont toutes petites.     They are very small.
   Elle est toute honteuse.

     She is very ashamed.
   Elles sont toutes honteuses.     They are very ashamed.
   Les toutes premières années.     The very first years.

Prepositions: à and de

   tout à coup     all of a sudden
   tout à fait     absolutely
   tout à l'heure     shortly, right away
   tout au contraire     on the contrary
   tout de suite     immediately
   tout de même     all the same, anyway
   tout d'un coup     all at once

Pronunciation

The different adverbs are pronounced as follows:

   tout - [tu]
   toute - [tut]
   toutes - [tut]

All about Tout: Introduction | Adjective | Adverb | Noun | Pronoun | Test

Le tout is a noun meaning "whole" or "all," and is invariable in terms of gender and number, though the definite article le may contract or be replaced as usual.

   Les éléments forment un tout.     The elements make a whole.

   le grand Tout     the Great Whole (the universe)

   mon tout      my whole
      (in the French game charades)

   pas du tout     not at all

   rien du tout     nothing at all

   Le tout, c'est de faire vite.

     The main thing is to be quick about it.

Pronunciation

   The noun tout is pronounced [tu].

All about Tout: Introduction | Adjective | Adverb | Noun | Pronoun | Test

Tout can be two different kinds of pronouns.

Neuter pronoun

When it's a neuter pronoun, tout is invariable and means "all" or "everything":

   avant tout     above all

   malgré tout     in spite of everything

   c'est tout     that's all

   tout va bien     everything is fine

   tout est en règle     everything is in order

   Tout ce qui brille n'est pas or     All that glitters isn't gold

Plural pronoun

As a plural pronoun, there are two forms, tous and toutes, which mean "everyone" or "all" and usually have an antecedent.



   Où sont mes amis ? Tous sont ici. Ils sont tous ici.
   Where are my friends? Everyone is here. They're all here.

   Je ne vois pas les filles. Elles sont parties toutes ensemble.
   I don't see the girls. They all left together.

Pronunciation

The different pronouns are pronounced as follows:

   tout - [tu]
   tous - [tus]
   toutes - [tut]

All about Tout: Introduction | Adjective | Adverb | Noun | Pronoun | Test

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Lawless, Laura K. "The French Word Tout and Its Variations." ThoughtCo, Mar. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/french-word-tout-and-its-variations-1368964. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, March 8). The French Word Tout and Its Variations. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-word-tout-and-its-variations-1368964 Lawless, Laura K. "The French Word Tout and Its Variations." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-word-tout-and-its-variations-1368964 (accessed November 25, 2017).