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Passerelles ep. 1, Quiz 11: Tout d’abord

Do you know “Tout d’abord”, “un événement”, and “a priori” mean? Hear them all in this clip of French in the wild. Use our transcription quiz, set your level and fill in the blanks as you listen. The best way to improve your French listening skills with French in real life.

This clip is from Passerelles Episode 1. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Listen to the full episode here.

14 seconds, 33 words

This audio sample and transcription is from Passerelles ep. 1. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode

', ' '. ',.
', s'intéresserrituels '. 'événementprioribanal,rapportàsoirapporttemps.
Tout d'abord,vadonc s'intéresserrituels d'anniversaire. C'estévénementaprioribanal,révèlechosesnotrerapportàsoiaussinotrerapporttemps.

First of all

What’s opening up for you with this clip?

The snippet in English

Find a translation of this snippet here, how much of this did you hear?

Tout d’abord, on va donc s’intéresser aux rituels d’anniversaire. C’est un événement a priori banal, mais il révèle beaucoup de choses sur notre rapport à soi et aussi sur notre rapport au temps.

First of all, let’s take a look at birthday rituals. It’s a seemingly banal event, but it reveals a great deal about our relationship with ourselves and with time.

The above translation from Deepl. Source

What does “tout d’abord” mean?

“Tout d’abord” is a French phrase that translates to “first of all” or “firstly” in English. It is commonly used to introduce the first point or step in a sequence or enumeration. It signifies the beginning or the initial aspect of a discussion or explanation.

“Tout d’abord” is a useful transitional phrase in both spoken and written French. It helps organize thoughts and ideas, providing a clear structure to the discourse.

There are several other phrases that can be used interchangeably with “Tout d’abord” to convey the same meaning, such as “Premièrement,” “En premier lieu,” or “Au début.”

The phrase “Tout d’abord” is composed of two elements: “tout,” meaning “all” or “everything,” and “d’abord,” which translates to “at first” or “initially.” Together, they indicate the idea of starting with the most important point or introducing the primary aspect of a topic.

“Tout d’abord” is often used in formal contexts, such as presentations, speeches, or academic writing. It adds a structured and organized tone to the discourse, guiding the audience or reader through the main points systematically.

What does “un événement” mean?

“Un événement” is a common French phrase that translates to “an event” in English.

“Un événement” refers to a specific occurrence or happening that is significant or noteworthy. It can refer to a wide range of events, such as social gatherings, parties, conferences, concerts, sports competitions, or any other happening that involves people coming together for a particular purpose or celebration.

“Un événement” implies that the occurrence has some level of importance, whether it is a small-scale gathering or a large-scale international event. It suggests that the event is worth noting, attending, or discussing due to its impact, significance, or uniqueness.

Typically, “un événement” involves some level of planning and organization to ensure its success. This includes selecting a venue, coordinating logistics, inviting participants, arranging activities or performances, and managing the overall experience for attendees.

The meaning and nature of “un événement” can vary depending on the specific context. It can refer to personal events like birthdays, weddings, or anniversaries, as well as public events like festivals, exhibitions, or cultural gatherings. The term can also be used in a business or professional context to refer to conferences, trade shows, product launches, or corporate events.

a priori or à priori?

FIrst of all, what does it mean?

The phrase “a priori” is a Latin term commonly used in French (and other languages) to indicate something that is presumed or known before considering specific evidence or experience. It is often used to express an initial assumption or hypothesis based on general principles or previous knowledge.

In French, “a priori” is generally used as an adverb or a prepositional phrase. It can be used to introduce a statement or opinion that is made without further evidence or analysis. For example: “A priori, je pense que ce projet sera réussi” (Presumably, I think this project will be successful). It can also be used to express a preliminary judgment or expectation: “Il est, a priori, le candidat idéal pour ce poste” (He is, in principle, the ideal candidate for this position).

In certain contexts, “a priori” can also be used as an adjective to describe something that is assumed or known beforehand. For example: “Une décision a priori difficile à prendre” (A decision that is initially difficult to make).

Now l’accent grave

The verdict still seems to be out. Here’s why – it’s a Latin expression. But then in French that type of “a” requires the accent grave, otherwise it’s the verb. Read more here, here and here.

The third link above is from Larousse:

a priori (Réf. ortho. à priori)

adverbe et adjectif invariable

(latin a priori, en partant de ce qui est avant)

  • 1. En se fondant sur des données antérieures à l’expérience (par opposition à a posteriori) : Un raisonnement a priori.Contraire :a posteriori
  • 2. Avant tout examen approfondi ; de prime abord : Je ne rejette pas a priori cette proposition.
  • 3. Péjoratif. En ne tenant aucun compte des réalités : Ne pas juger a priori.

a priori (Réf. ortho. à priori)

nom masculin invariable

  • 1. Jugement, affirmation, proposition formulés a priori.
  • 2. Péjoratif. Affirmation sans preuve, gratuite, arbitraire : Argumenter par a priori.

My helpful teacher says: In French, the correct spelling is “a priori” (without the accent on “à”). “A priori” is a Latin phrase that is commonly used in French, meaning “beforehand” or “previously.” It is used to indicate a presumption or an assumption made based on prior knowledge or evidence.

It’s interesting to note that this podcast is created by a teacher for beginner learners, interesting that she would use a Latin phrase when a French one might suit better.

Perhaps the final word rests with Dictionnaire de l’Académie française


locution adverbiale

Étymologie :xviie siècle. Emprunté du latin scolastique, proprement « en partant de ce qui est avant ».

1. MARQUE DE DOMAINE :LOGIQUE. D’après des données antérieures à l’expérience, en s’appuyant sur les principes de la raison, par opposition à A posteriori. Argumenter a priori. Adjectivement. Raisonnement a priori.

2. Par extension. Préalablement à l’examen, au premier abord, ou, péj., en fonction d’une idée préconçue, d’un principe, d’un préjugé, etc. A priori, j’accepte votre proposition. Ils sont hostiles a priori à ce projet. Subst. inv. Un a priori. Poser, formuler un a priori, des a priori.


◇ Peut s’écrire apriori (subst.), pl. aprioris, selon les rectifications orthographiques de 1990.

[règle §1] Soudure des mots composés.

[règle §6] Les mots empruntés à d’autres langues.

Dictionnaire de l’Académie française

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Do you know “Tout d’abord”, “un événement”, and “a priori” mean? Hear them all in this clip of French in the wild. Use our transcription quiz, set your level and fill in the blanks as you listen. The best way to improve your French listening skills with French in real life.

2 thoughts on “Passerelles ep. 1, Quiz 11: Tout d’abord”

  1. Hey,

    I think “banale” should be “banal” due to agreement with “événement”.

    Also, not sure if it’s possible to accept two options but both événement and a priori apparently have alternative acceptable spellings as évènement and à priori. I imagine that starts to become a pain though …

    1. Yes, I changed banal, good catch.

      I added some details in the “glossary” of this post about a priori.

      I don’t have a way to accept both yet in the quiz, but that is another development idea for tricky words like this… I’ve left it “événement” for now, as it seems to be what she is saying (to me).

      I’m open to other arguments in the comments, though ! 🙂

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