Today, let’s take a close look at the French expression tout de suite. In English, it means right away or immediately, and understanding its nuances is essential if you want to communicate accurately in the language.

Let’s dive into what this expression typically implies, along with all its potential translations, so that when someone says tout de suite, you know exactly what they mean!

Tout de suite: Meaning and uses

Tout de suite in French is used to say right now, immediately, at once, etc, even though the literal translation is actually “all in a row.”  It’s a way of expressing that something was, is, or will be done without delay. For example, if I asked you to do something and you agreed to do it tout de suite, I’m expecting it to be done quickly.

This expression can be used in both casual and formal situations. It can stand alone or be part of a longer sentence as well. Now, let’s see all its English translations by using it in various contexts:

  • Emma, éteint cette télé tout de suite et fait tes devoirs ! – Emma, turn off this TV right now and do your homework!
  • Quand veux-tu y aller? Tout de suite ou après le dîner? – When do you want to go? Right now or after dinner?
  • Nous devons partir tout de suite ou nous n’aurons pas assez de temps. – We have to leave immediately or we won’t have enough time.
  • J’ai tout de suite réalisé que quelque chose n’allait pas. – I realized at once that something was wrong.
  • Elle est partie tout de suite après la fin du spectacle. – She left right after the end of the show.
  • Oui monsieur! Tout de suite monsieur! – Yes sir! Right away sir!

Depending on the context, tout de suite can also mean soon, or in a moment. It’s a way of saying that something will be done very shortly. In this case, the sentence is referring to the future.

  • J’arrive tout de suite. – I’ll be there in a moment.
  • Ne bougez pas, je m’occupe de vous tout de suite. – Don’t go anywhere, I will be with you shortly.

Variants of Tout de suite

De suite

Sometimes, tout de suite is shortened to become de suite:

  • Je reviens de suite! – I will be back in a minute!

However, this shortened version is a bit colloquial and only used orally in a casual context. Moreover, note that the expression de suite already exists on its own and typically translates to in a row or consecutively in English, so it’s important not to confuse them:

  • Il a gagné trois fois de suite. – He won three times in a row.

À tout de suite

French speakers also often use the expression à tout de suite, meaning see you in a moment:

  • Je viens juste d’arriver à la gare. À tout de suite ! – I just arrived at the station. See you in a bit!

Colloquially, this expression is also frequently shortened to just à tout, with the de suite implied from the context. Note that the pronunciation reflects the original phrase in this usage, similar to “à toute,” even though à tout on its own would logically be pronounced with an open “t” like the word “atout.”

  • Tu es déjà là ? Mon tram est à une station près. À tout ! – You’re already there? My tram is one stop away. See you in a moment!

Following the same formula as à tout de suite, the preposition à in French can be combined with words referring to other time periods to express when you are going to see someone again. These are all common French expressions used to part ways that we introduced in our post on how to say goodbye in French:

  • à plus tard – see you later
  • à bientôt – see you soon
  • à demain – see you tomorrow

Other expressions for Right away in French

While tout de suite is regularly used in everyday French conversations, it has plenty of other synonyms:

  • immédiatement – immediatly
  • sur-le-champs – right away
  • aussitôt – forthwith, straight away
  • sans délai – without delay
  • maintenant – now
  • bientôt – soon

Common misspellings of Tout de suite

Tout de suite is often pronounced very quickly, with French speakers often effectively omitting the de between tout and suite. In other words, tout de suite is frequently pronounced as “toute suite.”

For this reason, it is common even among French speakers to misspell this expression as “toute suite” or “tout suite.” Likewise, English speakers are often tempted to write it phonetically as “toot suite” or even “toot sweet.” None of these are correct spellings of toute de suite in French.

Note that it is nonetheless possible to come across the words toute suite or toutes suites in a sentence. However, this will only be in contexts that have nothing to do with the expression tout de suite:

  • Toute suite donnée à vos questions sera communiquée par e-mail. – Any follow-up on your questions will be communicated via e-mail.
  • Il est interdit de fumer dans toutes suites ou chambres de l’hôtel. – It is prohibited to smoke in all suites or rooms of the hotel.


To conclude, tout de suite is a very useful expression that can mean right now or soon, depending on the context. Throughout this post we looked at how French speakers use tout de suite in sentences, while also covering some of its common variants, synonyms, and misspellings.

With that, you’re ready to use this common French expression tout de suite!

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