Confused about tout as an adjective in front of an "h"

SaviourB2Kwiziq community member

Confused about tout as an adjective in front of an "h"

In the examples above we use tout in front of "heureuse" which is feminine and use toute in front of "hérissée ". We do the same for heureuses and honteuses. 

What is the difference exactly for these two usages of tout and toute ?

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

The lesson states: "As you can see, in such cases, tout becomes toute in front of feminine adjectives, but only when they start with a consonant or an aspirated h."

Heureuse doesn't start with an aspirated h, hence it is: tout heureuse.
Hérissée starts with an aspirated h, therefore it is toute hérissée.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

It's a weird rule, this, and quite confusing, which I think explains why Chris got the examples back to front and Céline didn't notice.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Did I get it mixed up? Heureux doesn't start with an h aspiré, it starts with an h muet. And hérissé does start with an h aspiré. Isn't that what's written in my response or am I tricking myself?

Whether the rule is weird or not, it follows suit with the general rule of treating the h-aspiré as a sounding consonant. Therefore, it is le haricot et le héros and tout hérissé. In the case of h-muet (l'heure, l'herbe, etc.), you would have two vowel sounds next to each other: "tou(t) (h)eureux". It makes sense to transform this into "toute heureux". Changing gender already has a long tradition in French, as long as it severs easier pronunciation: mon idée, etc.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

You only need toute when it does start with an h aspiré. (With h muet you get the correct pronunciation because of the liaison.)

La fourrure de ma chatte Minette est toute hérissée !

Sa sœur est tout heureuse de sa nouvelle maison.

(Also heureux and hérissé are masculine, so they're not affected by this rule.)

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The rule is not about making the pronunciation easier, it's about making the feminine pronunciation always "toot". But it seems odd to me, because there is no corresponding attempt to ensure that the masculine pronunciation is always "too".

You've still got them back to front, Chris. It should be:

Heureuse doesn't start with an aspirated h, hence it is: tout heureuse.

Hérissée starts with an aspirated h, therefore it is toute hérissée.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Dang! Now that I think of it more, this really is a weird rule. Now, I wonder how many French native speakers get that right.

Confused about tout as an adjective in front of an "h"

In the examples above we use tout in front of "heureuse" which is feminine and use toute in front of "hérissée ". We do the same for heureuses and honteuses. 

What is the difference exactly for these two usages of tout and toute ?

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