Dr. & Mrs. Vandertramp

In order to study for a French test, I figured I might write up some of my notes. And I thought, "Who knows? Maybe someone will find these helpful." So here's my notes on the acronym, Dr. & Mrs. Vandertramp. Leave a reply if you have a question, correction, or comment!

So Dr. & Mrs. Vandertramp is an acronym that contains the list of verbs that use être as an auxiliary verb (helping verb) instead of avoir.

We use être or avoir before a verb when using the passé composé (past tense). The verbs that will use conjugations of être are the following:

Devenir = to become

Retourner = to return


Mourir = to die

Revenir = to come back; return

Sortir = exit

Venir = to come

Arriver = to arrive

Naître = to be born

Descendre = to go down; descend

Entrer = to enter

Rentrer = to return

Tomber = to fall

Rester = to stay

Aller = to go

Monter = to go up

Partir = to go; to leave

Passer = to pass; cross; go through; come do (something)

...concluding the acronym "Dr. & Mrs. Vandertramp." EXCEPT! When using a direct object, the verbs sortir, descendre, montrer, and passer will use avoir. -.-

Also, all reflexive verbs (verbs that's subject and direct object are the same) use être in the passé composé.

Slightly confusing. I hope I got this all right. If you notice a mistake, please let me know! Hope this helps!


J'ai mangé une pomme. / I ate an apple. - The verb 'manger' is not a Vandertramp verb, and therefore, in order to put it in the passé composé, you must use the auxiliary 'avoir' before the verb. In this case, we are using the pronoun 'je,' and so the conjugation of avoir will be 'j'ai.'

Il est arrivé à la plage. / He arrived at the beach. - The verb 'arriver' is a Vandertramp verb, and so we use the correct conjugation of être beforehand to put it in passé composé.

J'ai sorti la poubelle du chéz moi. / I took the garbage out of my home. - Even though 'sortir' is a Vandertramp verb, it's being used transitively i.e., on a direct object (the trash) and so we use avoir instead of être. The same will happen to the verbs descendre, montrer, and passer as well.

Tu te as montré le livre. / You showed yourself the book. 'Montrer' is a Vandertramp verb, but it's being used both transitively and reflectively, so we use avoir. I'm a little unsure about the translation and usage of this one, and I've been studying for 4 hours so I'm starting to make more errors. Let me know if this is correct.

September 10, 2016


May I say two things? Être is spelt with a circumflex accent or l'accent circonflexe or party hat accent. Whatever you like to call it. : ) Secondly, that all reflexive verbs use the auxiliary être in the passé composé.

September 10, 2016

Merci beaucoup! I have a lot of trouble remembering accent marks, and it's even harder on a computer when I don't have a keyboard that uses them!

Also, I did not know that about reflexive verbs! I will add it! :)

September 10, 2016

I'm not a stickler about accents but I think you should included them all in this case. This will help writing accents without a keyboard; And some examples would be good to make it more clear. Another thing to add is that in the passé composé with être you need agreements. The verbs must agree with the nouns in both gender and number. : ) For example, 'We went to Paris.' (for a group of women) would be 'Nous sommes allées à Paris.'

September 10, 2016

I agree, I always try to write down accents when I can for reference. I sometimes don't have them in my notes though, because my professor goes over things very fast. Thank you, that's a great resource for the typing! I will add some examples when I get the chance.

September 10, 2016

Good idea. Le passé composé is probably the hardest tense in French, simply because there is so much to remember. : )

September 10, 2016

Hi ,in your second paragraph you need to replace "vowels" with "verbs". Otherwise it's a good attempt and will be very useful together with the discussions it has prompted.(In fact excellent considering you're at level 9 !!!!) Thanks for posting !!

September 10, 2016

Thank you! I fixed it, haha. (I make a lot more mistakes when I get tired). I'm glad to hear you think it's useful. :)

September 10, 2016

I agree. Wow you are up to level 25 in 4 languages!

September 10, 2016

I recently found this video from the daughter of the woman who produces French Today.

September 10, 2016

Oh my gosh, that's great! Thanks!

September 10, 2016

That is the most charming thing of all time.

September 10, 2016

Je n'amie pas le Dr. and Mis. Vandertramp. Je prefer le maison de Etre!!!!

September 13, 2016

Whatever works for you is great. Once you've learnt the verbs that take etre, you've learnt them and you're not gunna forget them. : )

September 13, 2016

The house of être is great too. I think it helps more visual people than Vandertramp. :)

September 13, 2016

Thank you so much to whoever gave me the 10 lingot! They really help me!

September 13, 2016


May 30, 2017

Merci! J’apprendre beacoup! (Thank you! I learned a lot!)

May 26, 2018

Great post! I just wanted to say it should be "Dr. & Mrs. Vandertrampp" with the extra "p" if you wanted to be more accurate to account for "partir" and "passer". I've also seen people use "Dr. & Mrs. P. Vandertramp" where one of the p's a first initial. Cheers!

September 11, 2018

can someone write down what they turn into when they are conjugated.

October 22, 2018

Isn't montrer NOT a Dr Mrs Vantertrampp word?

April 16, 2019
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