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

There are different ways to use tout in French - as a pronoun or an adjective - to express slightly different things:

Tout  =  everything

Tout m'ennuie.
Everything bores me.

Je comprends tout.
I understand everything.

Used on its own, the invariable pronoun 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 the adjective tout, as follows :

tout/tous/toute/toutes + article + noun

Note that as an adjectivetout agrees in gender and number with the thing it refers to, as such:

  Masculine Feminine
Singular    tout
toute
Plural tous
toutes
In this case, tous is always pronounced [too]: the -s is silent.


Tous / toutes  = all [of them]

Used on their own, pronouns tous or toutes replace prementioned nouns.
As such, tous/toutes agrees in gender with the thing they're replacing (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.
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

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.


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 .


Q&A

Melisa

Kwiziq community member

10 October 2018

3 replies

Isn't this example a contradiction?

It says tous (as a complement to the plural subject) is always pronounced [toos], to differenciate it from tout but right above that it gives the example, "Mes amis sont venus et ils étaient tous contents." and pronounces it too. This is an example using tous as a complement to the subject amis, isn't it? Shouldn't it be pronounced toos? It's very confusing.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

10 October 2018

10/10/18

Yes, in this example "tous" should be pronounced with the trailing s. 

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 October 2018

12/10/18

Bonjour Melisa !

Indeed, this example was badly recorded, and thanks to you, it's now been fixed :)

The "s" in "tous" here is definitely pronounced!

Merci et bonne journée ! 

Melisa

Kwiziq community member

13 October 2018

13/10/18

Thanks for fixing it!

John

Kwiziq community member

18 September 2018

2 replies

"On regardait les lucioles, et soudain elles ont toutes disparu.+

Is it necessary to use "toutes" in this sentence, or can one just say "...et soudain elles ont disparu?  Does it change the meaning somehow?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 September 2018

19/09/18

Yes, you can omit toutes, but the statement would be weakened. Toutes insists that all the fireflies disappeared.

John

Kwiziq community member

19 September 2018

19/09/18

Merci pour votre réponse

Olena

Kwiziq community member

17 August 2018

1 reply

Question about question in a test

"Les pommes ? Anne les a ___ mangées."

Isn't it "a mangé"?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

17 August 2018

17/08/18

No, if the direct object (les) comes before the participle (mangées) the participle is matched to the object (feminine plural, because of les pommes). 

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

15 August 2018

2 replies

and 2, I have heard before that if you crete a notebook, you can test just on that topic but I have never found a test attached to it or a link.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 August 2018

16/08/18

The way I used notebooks was just so that I could test for specific lessons and topics. I looked at my brainmap and picked out lessons that I still needed practice on. Or I used the library for topic selection. Once I had the right lessons in my notebook I clicked "Test your knowledge" on the notebook page.

-- Chris.

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

18 August 2018

18/08/18

Merci!

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

15 August 2018

1 reply

TOO, silent S - but which case are they talking about? And when I listen to the speaker, they say TOOS when there is a vowel. and 2)

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

23 August 2018

23/08/18

Hi Suzanne

Tous is pronounced differently whether it is an adjective ((too) or a pronoun (toos) but this might be better highlighted with examples. - 

1. Tous -you don't pronounce the 's' - 'too'

Tous mes copains = All my friends

Tous les pays du monde = All the countries in the world

Tous les garçons et les filles de mon âge = All the boys and girls of my age

( beautiful song from Françoise Hardy!)

2. Tous - the 's' is pronounced - 'toos'

Bonjour à tous! Hello everyone!

Ils sont tous gentils = They are all nice

Tous ensemble! = All together!

Hope this clarifies matters a bit...

Suzanne

Kwiziq community member

15 August 2018

1 reply

I have red the thread. I have 2 comments. on the pronunciation of tous - the lesson makes a point of saying "in this case, it is always pronounced TO

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

23 August 2018

23/08/18

already answered ...

Barbara

Kwiziq community member

12 August 2018

1 reply

I think you are mixing adjectives and pronouns

Toute la journée, mon chat dort.

Here, toute is an adjective not a pronoun, I believe.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 August 2018

14/08/18

Bonjour Barbara !

Thanks for your feedback! Indeed our lesson lacked clarity, in that "tout" can indeed be either a pronoun or an adjective (as in the case you mentioned)

I've therefore amended the lesson accordingly :)

Merci et bonne journée !

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://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/where-to-place-adverbs-with-verbs-in-compound-tenses À bientôt !
I'll be right with you...