All about the French phrase "Tu t'attendais à quoi"

We are going to explain you all the things you want to know about the basic phrase “Tu t’attendais à quoi”.

Including a detailed guide of what it is and how you can use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. But wait, we also added some super useful stuff like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

Oh and… you will find more phrases tutorials like this one on this page plus the ultimate directory of all our French words pages on this page. C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

Artboard 1
Showcase of this quote from our Instagram account
Daily posts like this on Instagram → @all.french and Telegram

French to English

Pronunciation guide

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


The literal meaning is:

  • Tu → You
  • T’attendais → Expected
  • À → To
  • Quoi → What

This is the French translation of the famous sentence “What did you expect?“. You can use it exactly like the English version, typically when someone seems to have too much expectations about something and you want to know what he/she was expecting.

Let’s see some examples now!

How to use

Example: you offer a gift to your brother and he seems disappointed, you can ask: “Tu t’attendais à quoi ?” (What did you expect?).

Another scenario: you are talking about your new crush with someone and he/she realizes it’s not him/her. Once again, you can ask: “Tu t’attendais à quoi ?“.

Funny stuff

This sentence became popular after a famous beverage brand used it as a catchphrase in their advertisements.


  • T’as cru quoi ? (“What did you believe?“)
  • T’as cru que c’était quoi ? (“What did you believe it was?“)
  • Vous vous attendiez à quoi ? (“What did you expect?“)(Formal and/or plural)
  • Il s’attendait à quoi ? (“What did he expect?“)(Masculine and neutral)
  • Elle s’attendait à quoi ? (“What did she expect?“)(Feminine)
  • Ils s’attendaient à quoi ? (“What did they expect?“)(Masculine and neutral + Plural)
  • Elles s’attendaient à quoi ? (“What did they expect?“)(Feminine + Plural)

Example in a story with translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Attentes vs. Réalité
Expectations vs. Reality
Jacques:   Tu fais quoi ?
What are you doing?
Alice:   Je regarde des vidéos sur YouTube, pourquoi ?
I’m watching videos on YouTube, why?
Jacques:   Pour rien. Ça te dérange si on reporte le pique-nique de ce week-end ?
For nothing. Do you mind if we postpone this weekend’s picnic?
Alice:   Tu as quelque chose de prévu ?
Do you have something planned?
Jacques:   Oui, des amis viennent de Paris.
Yes, some friends are coming from Paris.
Alice:   Quels amis ?
What friends?
Jacques:   Tu ne les connais pas. Ils ont un groupe de musique. Et ils sont assez populaires.
You don’t know them. They have a band. And they are quite popular.
Alice:   Un groupe de musique populaire ? Wow ! C’est super !
A popular band? Wow! That’s great!
Get access to 365 French Texts and Quizzes

Become a member to access the full version of 365 texts and quizzes! 

Already a member? Login here