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Tout, tous, toute, toutes = Everything, all (of them), the whole (indefinite pronouns)

There are different ways to use tout and its various forms in French, and they mean slightly different things:

Tout  =  everything

Tout m'ennuie.
Everything bores me.

Je comprends tout.
I understand everything.

Used on its own, tout means everything.

 

Tout/tous/toute/toutes [chose(s)] = All [things] / the whole [thing(s)]

Toute la journée, mon chat dort.
All (of the) day/ the whole day long, my cat sleeps.

J'ai mangé tout le gâteau.
I ate all the cake. / I ate the whole cake.

Toutes mes soeurs sont très énervantes!
All my sisters are really annoying!

Je trouve tous les pays intéressants.
I find all countries interesting.

To say all (the) [things] or the whole [thing], you will use :

tout/tous/toute/toutes + article + noun

Note that tout agrees in gender and number with the thing it refers to, as follows:

  Masculine Feminine
Singular tout
toute
Plural tous
toutes

Note that in this case, tous is always pronounced [too]: the -s is silent.


Tous / toutes  = all [of them]

Used on their own, tous or toutes replace prementioned nouns.

As such, tous/toutes agrees in gender with the thing it refers to (it always expresses a plural quantity!).

Tous/toutes can be used either as:

- the subject of the verb = All [of them] did that.

Les garçons ont passé leur examen et tous l'ont eu.
The boys took their exams and all of them passed .

On regardait les lucioles, et soudain toutes ont disparu.
We were watching the fireflies, and suddenly all of them disappeared.

Mes amis sont venus et tous étaient contents.
My friends came and all were happy.

- a complement to the existing plural subject They all did that. 

Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents.
My friends came and they were all happy.

Les garçons ont passé leur examen et ils l'ont tous eu.
The boys took their exams and they all passed .

On regardait les lucioles, et soudain elles ont toutes disparu.
We were watching the fireflies, and suddenly they all disappeared.

In this last case, tous/toutes is placed after the verb in simple tenses, or between the auxiliary and the past participle in complex tenses.

Pronunciation note: In this case, tous is always pronounced [toos], to differenciate it from tout (everything)!

 

Pronounciation guide

Tout (masc. sg.) => [too]

Tous (masc. pl.) => [too] or [toos] depending on usage: see above.

Toute (fem. sg.) => [toot]

Toutes (fem. pl.) => [toot] (the -s is always silent, even when followed by a vowel: NO liaison!)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

On regardait les lucioles, et soudain toutes ont disparu.
We were watching the fireflies, and suddenly all of them disappeared.


Les garçons ont passé leur examen et tous l'ont eu.
The boys took their exams and all of them passed .


On regardait les lucioles, et soudain elles ont toutes disparu.
We were watching the fireflies, and suddenly they all disappeared.


Je comprends tout.
I understand everything.


Les garçons ont passé leur examen et ils l'ont tous eu.
The boys took their exams and they all passed .


Tout m'ennuie.
Everything bores me.


Je trouve tous les pays intéressants.
I find all countries interesting.


J'ai mangé tout le gâteau.
I ate all the cake. / I ate the whole cake.


Mes amis sont venus et tous étaient contents.
My friends came and all were happy.


Toutes mes soeurs sont très énervantes!
All my sisters are really annoying!


Toute la journée, mon chat dort.
All (of the) day/ the whole day long, my cat sleeps.


Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents.
My friends came and they were all happy.


Q&A

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

16 June 2018

1 reply

What is the different betweet:

Chris

Kwiziq community member

18 June 2018

18/06/18

Hi Suzanne, I really can't say it any different than the corresponding lesson to which you refer.


Tout-toute / tous-toutes are the different forms, masculine-feminine in singular and plural.


And depending on how you use it, it can mean different things:


J'ai oublié tout. -- I forgot everything.
J'y ai pensé toute la journée. -- I tought about it all the day.
Nous sommes tous arrivés ensemble. -- We all arrived together. (a male or mixed group)
Nous sommes toutes arrivées ensemble -- We all arrived together. (an all female group)


I hope that helps, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Daniel

Kwiziq community member

4 January 2018

2 replies

Les garçons ont passé leur examen et tous l'ont eu.

isn't it the other way around? Les garçons ont eu leur examen et tous l'ont passé.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

4 January 2018

4/01/18

Well, no, actually.

Passer un examen -- to take an exam (not necessarily tompass it).
Avoir un examen -- to pass it.

This is confusing because in English it seems to be zhe other way round.

-- Chris (not a native speaker)

P.S.: I have been told, however, that this distinction is lost on many native French speakers.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

9 February 2018

9/02/18

Hi Daniel,


As Chris says,  in French,


passer un examen, means to take an exam and


avoir un examen means to have passed it


 It is what we call a faux-ami ( false friend or false cognate) you think it means the same in English but this is not the case. You will meet quite a few of those as you are learning.


To give another example , compare ,


Il passe son permis de conduire demain . ( He is taking his driving test tomorrow )


and


Ça y est ! il a son permis ( de conduire) , That's it ! He's passed his driving licence.


Hope this helps!

Thomas

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2017

6 replies

Position of tout in "Elle a tout compris"

"She understood everything." has "tout" after "a" as the correct answer in the test. But "she understood something." is "Elle a compris quelque chose." ... at least I think that is correct. Why?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

30 May 2017

30/05/17

Bonjour Thomas,
Tout, tous, toute, toutes = Everything, all (of them), the whole (indefinite pronouns) In the phrase Elle a tout compris, tout is an indefinite pronoun and pronouns typically go before a verb, in this case between the auxiliary of avoir and the participe passé; however, in the phrase Elle a compris quelque chose, quelque is an adjective and chose is a feminine noun and would follow the verb.
J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderez.
Ron

Thomas

Kwiziq community member

31 May 2017

31/05/17

Merci beaucoup!

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 June 2017

1/06/17

Excellent explication Ron :)

One tiny thing = "J'espère que ma réponse vous aidera." (it's your answer that helps) ;)

Ron

Kwiziq community member

1 June 2017

1/06/17

Merci Aurélie, c'était un typo.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2017

13/06/17

Would it be correct to translate:

J'ai tout compris = I understood completely.
J'ai compris tout = I understood everything.

-- Chris.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 June 2017

16/06/17

Bonjour Claus !

You wouldn't say "J'ai compris tout", only "J'ai tout compris" to say = I understood everything.

If you want to say "I understood completely" you will use another adverb:
"J'ai complètement / tout à fait compris."

See our lesson on position of adverbs with compound tenses:
https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/where-to-place-adverbs-with-verbs-in-compound-tenses

À bientôt !

Michael

Kwiziq community member

28 March 2017

1 reply

'tout' (everything) vs 'tous' or 'toutes' (all of them)

'Tout' ('too') means 'everything, and its pronunciation must be distinguished from: 'Tous' ('toos') and 'toutes' ('toot') mean all of them. With these ('all of them') Here, there are 2 cases: 1. when used as the noun: (tous etaient content - all of them were happy-'toos'); 2. when used as an adjective of the noun 'they' (as in 'they all' or 'they were ll'): (ils etaient tous content - they were all happy - 'too') The weird one is 'ils l'ont tous eu' - they all passed - by the rule 'tous' should be pronounced 'too', but is pronounced 'toos' because of liaison. Is this correct?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

28 March 2017

28/03/17

Bonjour Michael !

Actually "tous" is always pronounced [toos].
The two cases are:
"Ils étaient *tout* contents." where "tout" emphasises "contents" = They were *very/all* happy.
"Ils étaient *tous* contents." here it goes with "ils" = They were *all (of them)* happy.

In the second case, you'll always pronounce [tous].

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 November 2016

1 reply

Oleg asked: "Shouldn't it be "Il les a tous lu" instead of "Il les a tous lus"? If not, why?"

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 November 2016

10/11/16

Bonjour Oleg !

"Il les a tous luS" is actually correct, because it follows a (very annoying!) rule of agreement with the auxiliary "avoir".
You will agree the past participle with the direct object of the verb IF this one is placed BEFORE the verb... which happens when using direct object pronouns as in here.
Here is a link to the related lesson:
https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/my-languages/french/view/429

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

13 October 2016

1 reply

Ambiguity in "Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents"?

Is there some ambiguity in this example? Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents. The post translates that as "My friends came and they were all happy." However, in addition to (or maybe rather than--I don't know) "all of them," that could also mean something like "they were completely happy," couldn't it? That's my understanding of tout + a predicative adjective.

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

14 October 2016

14/10/16

That's very helpful, Aurélie--thank you!

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

13 October 2016

2 replies

Unlike your typical lessons, this is hard to follow

Hello, Unlike a typical Kwiziq lesson, this one is difficult to follow. Perhaps consider structuring it a bit more?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 October 2016

14/10/16

Bonjour Kevin !

Thank you for your suggestion: I've had a look and indeed decided to rework it a bit ;)
Please have a look, and let me know what you think !

Merci et à bientôt !

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

14 October 2016

14/10/16

Hi, Aurélie,

I would describe this as still pretty unstructured, in truth.

I took a crack at it myself. You can see what I came up with on the following page. I have links to a couple quizzes there--if you can explain to me how to link to yours, I'd be happy to do so!

https://zipfslaw.org/2016/10/13/tutelary-gods-and-how-to-use-tout/

Julia

Kwiziq community member

29 August 2016

2 replies

Is there a quiz that focuses on this lesson? That would be so helpful.

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

30 August 2016

30/08/16

Bonjour Julia,

If you create a Notebook with just this lesson, you can then test only on it.

Bonne continuation !

Kevin

Kwiziq community member

13 October 2016

13/10/16

I have to admit, I tried creating a notebook with just this lesson, but I still don't see a test for it.

Reem

Kwiziq community member

19 June 2016

1 reply

Hello, I still can't tell when to use "tous"!

Stephen

Kwiziq community member

21 June 2016

21/06/16

When the noun is male plural.
Clever stuff underway!