The French language is a universal language with over 300 million people speaking it. All the way from Africa to Europe to North America and the rocky Caribbean islands. Therefore, millions of people take on learning this intriguing language of love.

You already know the ‘Bonjour mademoiselle? Pain au chocolat?’, however, learning French can be quite challenging for beginners, especially when it comes to French grammar.

Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp is exactly what you need and no, they are not online French tutors but rather your grammar savers and a beneficial tool in your French learning journey. This post will help you understand the Dr. Mrs P Vandertramp abbreviation and how it applies to learning French. Voilà !

What is Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp?

While this may sound like the name of an author, that is not the case. When you start learning French, keeping up with essential French grammar can be tricky and Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp is the aid you need.

Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp is a learning strategy that uses mnemonics to help French students in remembering the verbs that conjugate with the auxiliary verb être as opposed to avoir in passé composé.

Passé composé refers to the past participle of verbs and it is the basis of this tool. It is important to know what each letter in Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp stands for (the meaning of the verbs are in parenthesis).

List of verbs

  • Devenir – devenu (to become)
  • Revenir – revenu (to come back)
  • Monter – monté (to climb)
  • Rester – resté (to stay)
  • Sortir – sorti (to leave)
  • Passer – passé (to pass)
  • Venir – venu (to come)
  • Aller – allé (to go)
  • Naitre – né (to be born)
  • Descendre – descendu (to descend)
  • Entrer – entré (to enter)
  • Rentrer – rentré (to re enter)
  • Tomber – tombé (to fall)
  • Retourner – retourné (to turn around)
  • Arriver – arrivé (to arrive)
  • Mourir – mort (to die)
  • Partir – parti (to leave)

All these verbs use être as their auxillary or helping verb instead of avoir in their past participle form. Furthermore, you can use this mnemonic as an easy way to memorize the verbs as a beginner.

How to use the Dr. Mrs. Vandertramp abbreviation

The être auxilliary verb comes before the past participle of the verbs.

Meaning of être

The verb être means “to be”. This verb acts as a helping verb for the passé composé of main verbs. Here are some examples to show when the verb être is conjugated:

  • She is – Elle est
  • You are – Vous êtes
  • We are – nous sommes

When using the past participle of the verbs, the ending of each verb has an extra “e” when the subject is a woman and “s” if there are mone than one object or subject. Below is an example of how this works:

  • Elle est restée dans la maison – She stayed in the house.
  • Je suis arrivée – I (woman) arrived.
  • Nous somme entrées dans ma chambre – We (more than one woman) entered my bedroom.

The exra “e” in the first and second example is because of the feminine object while the “s” in the last example is to show the plural form.

Examples of where the acronym is applicable

The use of Dr. Mrs. Vandertramp is perfect when you need to remember the verbs that use être, especially since they are commonly used. Here are some examples of the use of Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp with the auxillary verb être :

  • Elle est montée dans sa voiture – She got into her car.
  • Ils sont sortis de la maison – They went out of the house.
  • Il est tombé par terre – He fell on the ground.
  • Nous sommes partis en vacances – We left for vacation.

Importance of Dr Mrs P. Vandertramp and the House of être

As a foreign French learner, you want to know the basics of French grammar, and this is a great way to start. This abbreviation is also commonly referred to as the “House of être”, which is a visual aid that represents the different verbs in action.

House of êtreUltimately, the acronym is a good way to master the verbs that use être as a helping verb, and a good source of reference when unsure if the verb needs avoir or être.

Moreover, the passé composé of French verbs can be quite hard to remember, especially if you are a beginner. The use of this acronym is a good learning strategy to avoid making errors and the confusion of using être and avoir.


If you are learning to speak or write French, it is important that you know how to use grammar. The Dr. Mrs. Vandertramp abbreviation will give you insight on how to apply the mnemonics through various examples.

To keep learning and practicing French, nothing is better than having fun along the way! I definitely recommend watching series or movies in French (here are my lists of famous French series on Netflix and French movies on Netflix) or listening to French music artists.

Have fun in your learning journeay, and don’t forget Dr.Mrs P Vandertramp. A bientôt !

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