Usage of the French Expression Tout à Coup

Young woman with suitcase walking on a road
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The French expression tout à coup (pronounced too ta koo) means "all of a sudden." It literally translates to "all at (a) blow." Its register is normal. ​​Tout à coup is a very common French expression which indicates that something happened abruptly and unexpectedly.

Examples

  • Sans dire un mot, elle a tout à coup pris son sac et est partie.
  • Without a word, she suddenly picked up her bag and left.
  • Tout à coup, j'ai perdu l'appétit.
  • All of a sudden, I lost my appetite.

Tout à coup is often used interchangeably—though technically incorrectly—with the French expression tout d'un coup.