FR: tout / toute / tous / toutes


Senior Member
English (USA)
tout, toute, tous, toutes

What is the appropriate usage for these words? I know the meaning, I just am not clear on when to use which.


Moderator note: Multiple threads have been merged to create this one. It discusses the grammatical choice between "tout," "toute," "tous," and "toutes." If you are interested in dicussing the pronunciation of "tous," please DO NOT do so here. We have a separate thread dedicated to the subject: tous (prononciation & liaison).
  • Wow. Thats just too many words that mean the same thing. I guess it's not too hard to remember which is for what. Thanks!
    Mais non Mayflyaway,

    The word 'tout' (all) has to agree with its subject


    Il était tout seul - he was all alone
    Elle était toute seule - she was all alone
    Ils étaient tous seuls - they (masc.) were all alone
    Elles étaient toutes seules - they (fem) were all alone.

    Hope that helps.

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    I was wondering if anyone could give me some sort of guidence on when to use the different forms of 'all' (tout) in french: there seem to be so many! Any examples would be much appreciated!


    Tout can be either an adjective, a pronoun or an adverb.

    As an adjective, tout agrees with its noun.
    As a pronoun, tout agrees with what it represents.

    . . . . m . . . . f
    sing: tout . toute
    plur: tous . toutes

    Quelqu'un a mangé tout le fromage.
    Il a bu toute une bouteille de pastis.
    Tous les hommes viennent de Mars.
    Toutes les femmes viennent de Vénus.

    As an adverb tout is invariable, unless it's followed by a feminine adjective beginning with a consonant:

    Il est tout petit.
    Ils sont tout petits.
    C'est une tout autre affaire.
    Nous sommes tout heureuses.
    Elle est tout intelligente.

    Elle est toute petite.
    Aupick said:
    As an adverb tout is invariable, unless it's followed by a feminine adjective beginning with a consonant

    Well, I never knew that... so does that mean:

    il est tout intelligent
    ils sont tout intelligents
    elle est tout intelligente
    elles sont tout intelligentes


    il est tout petit
    ils sont tous petits
    elle est toute petite
    elles sont toutes petites

    Or am I missing the mark?

    Xanthius said:
    il est tout intelligent not correct; il est très intelligent/il est tout (adv.) beau, tout (adv.) prêt
    ils sont tout intelligents NO: ils sont tous intelligents
    elle est tout intelligent no; see above
    elles sont toutes intelligentes

    il est tout petityes
    ils sont tous petitsyes, all of them are ...
    elle est toute petiteyes
    elles sont toutes petitesyes; all of them are...

    I hope it will help you; it's a tricky matter.
    I have just one more question on this topic:
    Does the word 'touts' exist at all? Because I have noticed that I've made this mistake several times, writing 'touts' and having it crossed out and written 'tous' instead.
    The reason that I've done this is that somehow (don't ask me how..:( I really don't know how I managed to ''learn'' this) I thought that 'touts' had to stand before masculine plural noun which begins with either a vowel or an H apsiré.
    e.g. touts oeufs
    Am I totally wrong in this case? Would the correct version be ''tous oeufs''?
    Sorry for such a silly question... :(
    The form touts does not exist.

    I cannot think of a case where tous could stand next to the noun it modifies without an article. The singular form, curiously, may do so.

    Tout homme qui me dit cela...
    (Any man who tells me that...)

    But I have only seen tous les œufs..

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    I just wanted to ask something, when do you use "tous" and when do you use "tout"?? I'm a bit confused here... do you use "tous" only if the subject is plural? If someone can clarify this for me with examples that would be great, thanks!
    Bonjour, je peux peut-être vous donner quelques exemples :

    Nous voulons tous aller à la piscine.
    Il a mangé toutes les oranges.
    Nous avons eu du beau temps tous les jours.
    Tous les enfants ont apprécié le repas.
    En général, toutes les petites filles sont coquettes.

    Il est tellement gentil qu'il est prêt à tout donner.
    Tout le monde est disposé à aider cette famille.
    Une mère fait normalement tout pour ses enfants.
    Tout va bien.

    J'espère que cela pourra vous aider.

    It depends on the nature of the word 'tout'.
    Sometimes, it is an adjective, in which case it agrees with noun in case and gender.
    Tous les enfants (masc plur)
    Tout le temps (masc sing)
    Toute la journée (fem sing)
    Toutes les filles (fem plur)

    Sometimes it is a noun
    Le tout, c'est de réussir. It's only used in the masculine singular in this meaning.

    Sometimes, it is an adverb, and that's where it becomes complicated. It remains invariable in most cases.
    J'ai tout vu.
    Les tout premiers jours. In this particular case, I think you'll find that most people will write it 'les tous premiers jours', even though it's incorrect, but no-one will notice (I do it all the time).
    I hope it helps.
    French speakers have a rule to choice between tout and tous.
    But I don't know if it can be helpful for others ...
    We use tous (or toutes) when we can say tous les ...
    We use tout when we can say n'importe quoi, n'importe lequel, entièrement, ...
    I find the example "les tout premiers jours" interesting, as the rule of choice cannot apply... I guess it is one of the famous "exceptions" of the French language.
    In this case, it can be translated by "very" : "the very first days".
    In this case "my" rule applys : it's not tous les premiers jours but les tout premiers jours as les vraiment premiers jours
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    Ok NOW you've confused me. What's the english meaning of les tout premiers jours? Is it "the first few days"? Or, as suggested above, "the very first days"? If it is, then we shouldn't have the need for "les vraiment premiers jours" should we?? :confused:
    Ok NOW you've confused me. What's the english meaning of les tout premiers jours? Is it "the first few days"? Or, as suggested above, "the very first days"? If it is, then we shouldn't have the need for "les vraiment premiers jours" should we?? :confused:
    Les tout premiers jours = the very first days. :)

    (note: les vraiment premiers jours is not correct French, BMR wrote it to illustrate the meaning ;))
    As adjectives, tout is masculine singular, tous - masculine plural, toutes is feminine plural. Examples: tout le livre, tous les livres, toutes les filles. As pronouns, tout means everything and tous means all of them/all. Examples would be "J'ai tout compris" and "Ils sont tous là."
    Hi :)

    I'll give you a brief run down, I'm sure one of the grammar heavyweights will come and give you something more in depth later.

    tout etc can be used in 2(!) distinct ways :

    1: Adjective
    2: Adverb
    3: pronoun
    for the adjective/pronoun you need to commit to memory the following "table"

    ---------|Singular |Plural.....l
    Feminine |toute.....|toutes..|

    Tous = people, plural, masculine

    Tous les soirs = every evening
    Cette mesure n'a pas été acceptée par tous = this measure hasn't been accepted by everyone (all) -- "S" is pronounced.

    Tout = singular, masculine
    Tout le temps = all the time

    Toute = feminine, singular
    Toute la journée = all day

    Toutes = feminine, plural
    Toutes les trois minutes = every three minutes.
    Tout can be an adjective, an adverb or a pronoun, and sometimes is a noun, so the different uses and agreements you'll see are ruled by more than just the gender/number issue.
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    In short, tous would be for a countable quantity, tout for a non countable one - or for a group of countable items considered as a whole - and toutes is the feminine form of tous.

    Tous les enfants sont prêts (All the children are ready)
    J'ai tout pris (I've taken it all)
    Je les connais tous (I know all of them)
    Toutes les filles sont parties (all the girls have left)
    Hi there again! My question this time has to do with the word TOUT!
    I’ve understood so far that TOUT is the masc. singular – TOUTE the fem. sing. – TOUS the masc. plural & TOUTES the fem. plural. All ok so far.

    But being a beginner, I see various crazy stuff all around such as “touts les conforts”, “touse la ville”, “touses les étudiantes”, “touses les trois” (instead of tous les trois),je suis touse seule” etc… confusing me even more than I already am !

    Anyone can bother to untangle all this for me, pliiiiiz??
    I've read this entire thread and I'm still not sure......I have a three line stanza...Tout(e) seul(e), en silence, tu pleures. I think it should be feminine, 'e's included, but can somebody confirm? I really don't want to get this wrong. Oh the 'tu' is directed at a female.
    The 'tu' is directed at a female :
    So : "Toute seule, en silence, tu pleures." :thumbsup:
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    Ils étaient tous seuls - they (masc.) were all alone

    I do not agree with "ils étaient TOUS seuls" as in: "they were ALL alone"...I would translate this as: "all of them were alone"

    il s'agit d'un adverbe: Adverbe, il a le sens de tout à fait, entièrement, complètement ; il est alors invariable


    quand tout précède un adjectif féminin commençant par une consonne ou un h aspiré, il s'accorde avec lui. C'est le seul adverbe qui peut varier:
    - des fillettes toutes rouges et toutes honteuses...
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    Hm, reading this post I must say I ended up confused myself...
    Am I correct in assuming the following:

    -Ils étaient tout seuls : they were all alone
    -elles étaient toutes seules: : " " " "

    the rule states that "tout" should be modified when used as an adverb in front of an adjective that is "féminin ou commençant par un h-aspiré"

    -Ils étaient tous seuls: all of them were alone: here "tout" is not used as an adverb, but as an adjective no?
    I think you have it more or less straight, Pure_Yvesil, but just to prevent all ambiguity: :)

    Ils étaient tout seuls - they were completely alone. (adverb)
    Ils étaient tous seuls; Tous étaient seuls - all of them were alone (pronoun - but this sentence isn't very logical, because each should be alone, not "all").
    Tous les hommes étaient seuls - All of the men were alone (adjective)

    The rules are confusing, because this word can have so many different grammatical functions.
    1. "Tout" is a masculine singular noun that means "everything"
    .....Il a tout fait ; tout est prêt !

    2. "Tout/tous/toute/toutes" is an adjective that means "all," "every," or "whole/entire." Like any adjective, it agrees in number and gender with the noun it modifies.
    .....On a volé tous mes crayons et toutes mes gommes ! = Someone stole all my pencils and all my erasers
    Je vais lire toute l'histoire. = I'm going to read the whole/entire story.
    .....Tout homme est mortel. = Every man is mortal.
    .....Il chante toute la journée. = He sings all day (long)

    3. "Tous" and "toutes" are pronouns that mean "all (of them)" or "everyone"
    Like any pronoun, it has the number and gender of the noun it replaces. Since "all" is by definition plural, it is logical that there is no singular form for this pronoun.
    .....Ils ont tous fait la même erreur, Tous ont fait la même erreur. = Everyone / They all of them made the same mistake.
    .....Toutes étaient très belles. = All of them (f.) were very beautiful, they were all very beautiful.
    .....Nous le ferrons tous les quatre. = All four of us will do it.
    .....Ils sont tous étonnés de te voir. = They (m.) are all of them astonished to see you.
    .....Elles sont toutes contentes de te voir. = They (f.) are all of them happy to see you.

    4. Tout is an adverb that means "entirely," "completely," or "quite." Adverbs are invariable... but "tout" has an exception, which comes about for phonetic reasons: so when the adverb "tout" is followed by a feminine adjective that starts with a consonant or an aspirate H, it will agree in number and gender with the adjective.
    ..... Ils sont tout étonnés de te voir. = They are quite astonished to see you.
    ..... Ils sont tout contents de te voir. = They are quite happy to see you.
    ..... Elle est tout étonnée de te voir.
    ..... Elles sont tout étonnées de te voir.
    ..... Elle est toute contente de te voir.
    ..... Elles sont toutes contentes de te voir. - (note that this last example is indistinguishable from the final example in category #3)​
    Does this help? :)
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    Bonjour tout le monde. J'ai une question au sujet de l'usage du mot "tout" (dans toutes ses formes-tout, toute, etc) . Quelle est la différence entre quand on utilise "tout, toute, tous, ou toutes" suivi par un article défini et quand on n'ajoute pas d'article défini? Par exemple, c'est quoi la différence entre "tous les gâteaux sont délicieux" et "tous gâteaux sont délicieux"? Ceci est une question qui me déroute depuis longtemps alors j'espère que quelqu'un du forum peut m'aider! Merci à ceux qui répondent, j'apprécie l'aide!
    "Tous gâteaux sont délicieux" ne se dit pas. Par contre, on peut trouver cette forme quand on utilise "tous/toute/toutes" comme synonyme de "quelconque", par exemple "toute personne susceptible d'apporter son aide est la bienvenue".
    On peut citer également les phrases sans verbe pour préciser les prestations proposées par un magasin : "Imprimerie Dupont, tous travaux administratifs".
    Il me semble que dans une vraie phrase (avec verbe), tout(e) sans article ne peut être que singulier :
    - tout gâteau est délicieux :tick:
    - toute personne est bienvenue :tick:
    - tous gâteaux sont délicieux :cross:
    - toutes personnes sont bienvenues :cross:
    1. Tous les/Toutes les -> all the [personne/chose]
    Exemples -
    a. Tous les garçons sont présents
    b. Toutes les maisons de ce quartier sont belles

    2. Tout le/Toute la [pour les choses] -> chose entière
    a. Voilà le noveau livre de M.X. Tout le livre est intéressant
    b. Regardez cette maison. Toute la maison est belle.

    3. Tout/Toute + nom au singulier -> chaque [généralement pour les choses]
    Tout livre de notre biblo est intéressant.

    4. Pronoms indéfinis
    a. Il y a beaucoup de livres ici. Tous sont bons.
    b. Il y a beaucoup de maisons ici. Elles sont toutes belles.

    5. Tout -> pronom neutre [se réfère à l'ensembe des choses]
    J'ai assisté à la classe, mais je n'ai rien compris, tout m'a échappé
    I just saw a post on the usage of the plural version of "tout seul" and it got me thinking. How would you use it in its feminine form ?

    From what I understand, it goes a bit like this:

    Nous sommes seuls. (We are alone.)
    Nous sommes tout seuls. (We are completely alone.)
    Nous sommes tous seuls. (We are all [all of us] alone.)
    Nous sommes tous tout seuls. (We are all [all of us] completely alone.)

    Would it work this way for the feminine version ?

    Nous sommes seules.
    Nous sommes tout seules./Nous sommes toutes seules. (Not sure which)
    Nous sommes toutes seules.
    Nous sommes toutes toutes seules./Nous sommes toutes tout seules. (Again, not sure)

    If anyone could help me understand this, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you,

    Nous sommes seules.
    Nous sommes toutes seules.
    Nous sommes toutes seules.
    Nous sommes toutes toutes seules.

    the difficulty is here : its the same sentence for "we are all [all of us] alone" and "we are completly alone". but, you dont say really often "we are all [all of us] seules", and if you want to, then be clear and specify how many women "nous sommes toutes les 3 (par exemple) seules"

    Does this mean that if I said, "Tout les hommes sont malades" that would be incorrect? Should it be "Tous les hommes"?

    Yes, it should go ''Tous les hommes''. Here, ''tous'' is an adjective in plural and the whole construction has the meaning of ''All men/All men, without exception'' :)

    So, every time you use the plural form of the adjective ''tout'' which is ''tous'' for masculine nouns & ''toutes'' for feminine nouns followed by a plural definite article (les) or a demonstarative (ces-adj; ceux-pro) and a noun you get the meaning ''without exception'' :)

    tous/toutes + les/ces/ceux + a plural noun = Without exception

    Tous les hommes sont mortels. = All men(,without exception,) are mortal.

    J'ai une petite question à propos de l'expression "quitte et libre de toute(s) charge(s) de transcription" dans un contrat de vente d'une maison d'habitation. Doit-on écrire "de toute charge " ou "de toutes charges" ? J'ai rencontré les deux, sont-elles toutes les deux correctes ?

    Un grand merci d'avance !