French TOUT and How to Pronounce TOUS

👉 Scroll down to watch Jennifer’s video lesson on TOUT 👈

How to use the different forms of TOUT in French

There are so many different ways to use TOUT, TOUS, TOUTE, TOUTES.  Sometimes you pronounce the S on TOUS, and other times you don’t.  Test yourself with my mini-lesson on this grammar topic and get a handy chart with examples here.

Tout can be any of the following:

ADJECTIVE: Tous mes amis sont arrivés.  All of my friends have arrived.    
ADVERB:  Il faut continuer tout droit.  You must continue straight ahead.
NOUN:  Il n’a rien mangé du tout.  He didn’t eat anything at all.
NEUTER PRONOUN:  Tout va bien.  Everything is ok.
PLURAL PRONOUN:  Ils sont tous partis.  They all left.Pronounce the S when TOUS is a plural pronoun. 

TOUT as an adjective

As an adjective, TOUT has four forms.

toutmasculine singular
toutefeminine singular
tous (don’t pronounce the S)masculine plural
toutesfeminine plural

TOUT as an adjective can modify nouns

toute aideall help
tout droitevery right
tout âgeevery age
toute sollicitationevery request
à toute heureat all times

TOUT as an adjective can be used before definite articles

tout l’avionthe whole plane
toute la classethe whole class
tout le mondeeveryone
tous les enfantsall the children
toutes les chaisesall the chairs

TOUT can be used before possessive adjectives

tous mes cousinsall of my cousins
toutes ses voituresall of his / her cars
toute ma viemy whole life
tout ton gâteauyour whole cake

TOUT can be used before demonstrative adjectives

toute cette classethis whole class
tous ces devoirsall of this homework
toutes ces étudiantesall of these (female) students
tout ce tempsall of this time

TOUT as an adverb

TOUT can be an adverb when it is in front of an adjective or another adverb. TOUT as an adverb is invariable. This is the only way you can write it. It means VERY, COMPLETELY, EXTREMELY, ENTIRELY.

tout droitstraight ahead
tout doucementvery slowly
tout à côtéright next to
tout à gaucheall the way to the left

The adverb TOUT with adjectives

Since TOUT as an adverb is invariable, even if the masculine adjective is plural you need to use  TOUT and not TOUS

Il est tout content d’être avec moi.He’s very happy to be with me.
Ils sont tout tristes.
*Notice the subject is plural, but tout doesn’t change to tous.
They are very sad.

TOUT gets a little tricky with feminine adjectives. For both singular and plural adjectives that begin with a vowel or a mute H, tout stays invariable. However, when a feminine adjective begins with a consonant or a pronounced H, you need to go ahead and use TOUTE or TOUTES if the adjective is plural. This is a huge exception to the rule on how to use TOUT as an adverb.

Diane a mangé la pizza tout entière. 
*Despite the fact that entière is feminine (because of la pizza), tout stays in its invariable state.
Diane ate the whole pizza.
C’est une toute petite fille.She’s a very small girl. 
Ces assiettes sont toutes brillantes.These plates are very shiny.

Tout as a pronoun

A pronoun replaces a noun. Think of il and elle, for example, these are pronouns because they replace a person or a masculine or feminine thing. As a pronoun TOUT means all, everything, or everyone. It only has 3 different forms: TOUT – TOUS – TOUTES

The pronunciation of TOUS as a pronoun is special and really important.  You pronounce the S at the end, even if the first letter of the next word is a consonant.

Tout va bien, merci.
*In this case, TOUT is a neuter pronoun replacing a thing or an idea, but never a person. It means EVERYTHING or ALL. 
Everything’s going well, thank you.
Mes enfants sont tous adorables.
*pronounce the S
My kids are all adorable.
Les filles sont toutes allées aux toilettes. The girls all went to the bathroom.

Something tricky to keep in mind

Since TOUT can be used as both an adverb and a pronoun, sometimes the way you use it in a sentence can really change the meaning. The only way you can know the true meaning of the sentences below is pronunciation. In the first example, you must pronounce the S because TOUS is a pronoun. 

Ils sont tous contents de partir en vacances.
TOUS is a pronoun and you pronounce the S.
They are all happy to go on vacation.

They are all truly touched. Each person is happy. 
Ils sont tout contents de partir en vacances.They are very happy to go on vacation.
Les enfants sont tous contents. 
TOUS is a pronoun and it comes after the subject and verb.  Pronounce the S
Tous les enfants sont contents.
TOUS is an adjective and it comes before the subject and verb.  Do not pronounce the S

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