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`Tout vs Tous`: Make No Confusion Anymore


Often people get confused between Tous and Tout. Let us help you have a clear understanding of the two through this guide and use them in your sentences.

Isn’t this what you want? If yes, then ensure to read this guide on how to use “tout vs tous” in French. Here we’ll mention Tout along with its variants. How you can use tout in various methods including, as an adverb, adjective, in fixed expressions and so on. Sounds interesting right? I’d like to believe so. Be attentive in some areas as things might get a bit complex. However, this should not worry you, we have covered all you need to know in a simple and most convenient way. With that now, we can begin.

Let’s start with the basics on Tout vs Tous

The first step towards understanding tout, is first understanding the meaning of the word. Until now it’s obvious that you’ve noticed ‘tout‘ is one of the commonly used French words. The word ‘tout’ is used to mean ‘very’. Although it has been used for diverse purposes due to its many variants. Among those variants is the tous. However, there’s is a slight difference between these two words. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can use tout in French.

Tout can be used as Following ways

a. As an Adjective

In most cases, you’ll find tout being used as an adjective. This implies that; tout can be used to tell more about nouns along with other definite adjectives like the le/la-the, demonstrative adjectives ce-this, cette-that, as well as, possessive adjectives mon-my.

Before we start, you should know that tout has four forms as an adjective. Some of these forms appear when tout is being used as an adverb or a pronoun, although not all the time this will apply. One may easily view tout as singular and masculine. Implying that it can be used to modify singular and masculine words.

When tout is used along with masculine word in plural forms, it becomes tous. On the other hand, when it modifies a feminine word in the singular, tout becomes toute while in plural form it becomes, toutes. When tout is used to modify nouns, unlike other adjectives, it’s usually placed before the noun.

For example, Every citizen is allowed to vote, in French, you can say, chaque citoyen a le droit de voter.

Here are more examples of the same.

Vous pouvez apprendre à conduire à tout moment.  (You can learn how to drive at any time)
Il aime tous mes livres. (He loves all my books.)

Here tout is used next to a possessive adjective, mes (my), it has been changed from tout to tous since livres (books) is a masculine word in plural form.

Ils ont rassemblé tous ces abjets. (They have gathered all these items)

Here the tout has appeared before the demonstrative adjective ces (these), as well as, ends with -es, a feminine word in plural form.

These are some of the fixed expressions having tout as an adjective.

en tout cas (in any case.)
par dessus tout (above all)

Do you know how to pronounce Tout as an adjective? Tout being an adjective, you can easily predict it’s pronunciation. We pronounce tout and tous, without sounding the final letters. Although, in toutes and toute, you pronounce them along with their second ‘t’ sounds.

b. As an Adverb

Tout can be used to modify adjectives and verbs. In such cases, tout is used as an adverb.

It’s important to note that tout is not always an invariant when used as an adverb. However, it only becomes an invariable when it modifies other adverbs. When tout is used to modify an adjective that’s when things will change a bit.

See in an example; elle a fini tout le travail. (she finished all the work).

The word tout here means ‘all’, the phrase itself means she did all the work by herself.  In such a case tout is used as an adverb, since it’s used to modify the word ‘work’.

Another example; few? here tout is invariable, implying that it will not change its form to either, toutes, toute, or, tous. This applied even if the sentence comprises of just the tout.

Things may change when you use the adverbial tout to modify an adjective.

This is what we do when tout is used to modify an adjective. Here the tout becomes an invariable regardless of whether it’s in plural or singular form.

For example:
elle a assisté à toutes les réunions seule. (She attended all the meetings alone.)
Ils ont suivi toutes les instructions. (They followed all the instructions.)


How to modify a feminine adjective having a vowel at the beginning.

At this point, the tout still remains invariable.

ils sont tout triste de sa mort. (they are all sad about his death.)
j’ai decidé de nettoyer tout l’appartement. (I decided to clean the whole appartment).

When tout is used to modify a feminine adjective having a consonant at the beginning or an aspirated ‘h’, that is h aspire in French, the tout here should resemble the gender, that’s feminine, as well as, the form of an adjective, either singular or plural. For example;

ils sont très bruyants. (they are very noisy.)
les enseignants sont très savants. (teachers are very learned.)
elle est très en retard. (She is very late.)

Tout used in fixed expressions as an adverb.

tout en ordre. ( all in order).
dans tous les dimensions. ( in all dimensions)
tout en accord.  (all in agreement.)

Keep in mind that; immédiatement (immediately); In this expression, you don’t pronounce the ‘de‘, however, we pronounce the ‘t’ in tout similar to ‘toot‘.

How to pronounce, tout as an adverb.

Tout and its variants are pronounced similar to their adjectival forms since they are adverbs.

Tout used as a noun or pronoun.

When using tout as a noun, it becomes muscular and singular implying that, it can’t be changed from its form. When pronouncing it, we leave the final sound ‘t’ so that it sounds like ‘this’.

Example in a sentence;
depuis que j’ai acheté ma voiture, c’est devenu tout pour moi. (Since I bought my car, it became my everything.)
Dieu a crée tous les univers. (God created all universe.)

In the plural it’s easy, just add an -s to the word so that you can change it to plural.

Apportez tous les trous que nous devons choisir. (Bring all the wholes that we have to select from.)

When tout is used as a pronoun, things will differ a bit. Using tout as pronouns that do not exactly refer to anything, known as neutral pronouns, tout becomes an invariant and it doesn’t change its form.

For example, tout ce qui précède. (all the above.)

We can also find indefinite pronouns in proverbs like, ne mettez pas tous vos oeufs dans lemême panier. (don’t put all your eggs in one basket.)

Fixed expressions that have tout being used as nouns and pronouns.

en tout. (all in all)
nous tous. (all of us)

How to pronounce tout as a pronoun.

When you use tout as a pronoun, it has different pronunciations apart from other tout. The pronunciations of toutes and toute don’t change. Tout is pronounced with the ‘s’ sound intact. Always pay attention to tout and its variants when used in French videos, magazines, journals, and other materials to read and learn French. This will help you learn more about tout and its variants.

We hope this guide will help you to learn more about “tout & tous”.

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