Tout de suite is an extremely common French expression that is an absolute must know for all French learners. When literally translated it means “all in a row”, but its real meaning is closer to “right now”, “immediately”, or “straightaway”.
The great thing about tout de suite is that it’s not too formal or informal, which makes it great to use in pretty much any type of situation.
When looking at tout de suite written it doesn’t seem like the pronunciation would be anything difficult. However, when most French speakers say it you’ll find that the word de is minimized or completely silent altogether. This may not seem like a big deal, but this can certainly cause some confusion among learners who end up hearing toute suite (toot sweet) and thus write it that way.
The best advice here is to understand how native-French speakers pronounce tout de suite (and perhaps learn to pronounce it that way yourself), but to remember that when writing it it’s very important to have the de in there.
Using tout de suite in a sentence
You’ll see tout de suite used both by itself (typically in response to something) or in a more complete sentence. Let’s take a look at some examples that give you an idea of when to use tout de suite.
– Tu veux y aller quand ? – When do you want to go there?
– Tout de suite – Right now
Il va lui téléphoner tout de suite – He is going to phone him right now
As you can see in the above examples, if someone is asking you a question related to time you can answer with tout de suite. Alternatively you can use tout de suite with an action that is going to be performed right away. Let’s close things off with some more examples of tout de suite used in context.
À tout de suite ! – See you soon!, See you in a minute! * (Think of it like “See you right away”)
On l’a vu tout de suite – We immediately saw it
Bientôt mais pas tout de suite – Soon, but not right away
Arrête ça tout de suite – Stop that right now
Ils ont tout de suite compris – They immediately understood
Dis-lui de revenir ici tout de suite – Tell him / her to come back here right now
* We mentioned À tout de suite in the article on How to Say Goodbye in French. Check it out if you haven’t already.
Tout de suite is such a common expression that you probably couldn’t go a single day in a French-speaking country without hearing it. Fortunately for us French learners this is probably one of the easiest expressions for us to learn.
For more French vocabulary check out the French vocabulary page.