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Tout de suite – Right away, immediately

Tout de suite – Right away, immediately

Today we’ll look at the French expression tout de suite, meaning right away and immediately. Many students have a hard time with the pronunciaiton of this expression. Most commonly, the de is silent and the T on tout is pronounced. Hence, it sounds like “toot sweet”. Many students mistakenly write “toute suite”.

But, there are instances the de pronounced and the T on tout is silent. You’re more likely to hear this southern France where people tend to pronounce all the syllables.

Tout de suite (most common – de is silent and T is pronounced)

Tout de suite (less common- de is pronounced and T is silent)

Tout de suite - French expression for Right away, immediately

Podcast

Today I narrated the lesson!

Expression origin

The expression tout de suite is composed tout (all) and de suite (what follows, happens next). Tout comes from totus (all, each, in entirety) in Latin. Suite is related to the French verb suivre (to follow), which in turn comes from sequor in Latin.

Example sentences

These first two examples sentences are the imperative mood, which is used for giving commands.

Attendez-moi ! J’arrive tout de suite.

Wait for me! I’ll be there right away.

Interestingly, Marie (our amazing voice over artist behind these lessons) made two audio clips for this next example sentence.

In the first clip she uses the more common form of tout de suite, pronouncing the T on tout and not pronouncning the de. In the second clip, she skips the T on tout and pronounces the the de. Play both and compare!

Rends-moi le jouet tout de suite!

Give me back the toy immediately!

Clip 1

Clip 2

For this next sentence, tout de suite is being used in the context of space and not time.

Après le carrefour, le supermarché sera tout de suite sur votre gauche.

The supermarket will be immediately to your left, after the intersection.

This sentence is simply showing that immédiatement (immediately) can be used as a synonym for tout de suite.

Il est rentré chez lui et a immédiatement commencé à manger.

He got home and immediately started eating.

Finally, the expression “à tout de suite!” means “see you” but in the context of “see you in a few minutes” or very little time.

À tout de suite !

See you very soon!

Conclusion

Et voilà ! Now you know how to pronounce and use tout de suite. Now check this related lesson explaining how to tell time in French.

Tout de suite

References

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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