1. Education

Tout à l'heure

French expressions analyzed and explained


Expression: Tout à l'heure

Pronunciation: [too tah leur]

Meanings: a moment ago, just now; in a moment, right away

Literal translation: all at the time

Register: normal

Notes: The French expression tout à l'heure refers to a short period of time, but has two opposite meanings: it can refer to a moment in the recent past or in the near future.


   Je l'ai vu tout à l'heure.
   I just saw him a moment ago.

   Je vais le voir tout à l'heure.
   I'm going to see him in a moment.

   À tout à l'heure ! (Informal synonym: À tout !)
   See you soon!

Semi-synonymous expressions

   à l'instant - a moment ago, just now
   This expression can only refer to something in the past.

   tout de suite - immediately, right away

Near homophonous expression: à toute allure - at top speed, full tilt

A native French speaker would never confuse à tout à l'heure and à toute allure, as the vowel sounds [œ] (in heure) and [y] (in allure) are very distinct for them, but for a French student with somewhat shaky pronunciation the sounds are close enough that they might easily be mixed up. (IPA symbols)

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. French Language
  4. French Vocabulary
  5. French Expressions
  6. Expression of the Week
  7. Tout à l'heure - French Expression

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.