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"Tromper": To Mislead and Be Mistaken

In the latest episode of "Le Jour où tout a basculé," Frédéric accuses his wife Anne-Sophie of cheating on him with her ex, but Anne-Sophie insists he's mistaken. Both of them use the verb tromper to state their cases:



Quatre ans plus tôt, Anne-Sophie m'avait trompé.

Four years earlier, Anne-Sophie had cheated on me.

C'était une histoire sans lendemain.

It was a short-lived affair.

Caption 46, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Nos bébés ont été échangés...

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Tu t'es toujours trompé avec lui.

You've always been mistaken about him.

Caption 10, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Nos bébés ont été échangés...

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While Frédéric uses tromper to mean "to cheat" or "deceive," Anne-Sophie uses the reflexive form of the verb, se tromper, which means "to be mistaken" (literally, "to deceive oneself"). Frédéric also uses se tromper later in the video: 


Je m'étais pas trompé.

I was not wrong.

Ce fameux soir, c'est un mail de son ex sur lequel je suis tombé.

That famous evening, it was an email from her ex I came across.

Captions 49-50, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Nos bébés ont été échangés...

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You'll have to stay tuned to find out who's really being deceived here. There's a lot more at stake in this episode than potential infidelity! 


Tromper isn't only reserved for marital dramas. It's the best verb to use whenever you've been duped, tricked, fooled, or misled (which hopefully isn't that often!): 


Le marchand m'a trompé. Il m'a vendu une montre cassée. 

The shopkeeper misled me. He sold me a broken watch. 


Being mistaken is usually not as serious as being cheated, so you'll often see se tromper used in more mundane situations. You can add de + a noun after it to specify what the person is mistaken about: 


Bonjour, pourrais-je parler à Christine?

Hello, may I speak to Christine?

-Désolé, vous vous êtes trompé de numéro.

-Sorry, you've got the wrong number. 


Je pense que nous nous sommes trompés de bus. 

I think we got on the wrong bus. 


You may be familiar with a painting technique known as "trompe-l'œil" (literally, "tricks the eye"), which creates an illusion of three-dimensionality. Daniel shows us an interesting example of this technique in a church in Provins:


Observez quelques instants au cœur de l'église

Observe for a few moments in the heart of the church

cet effet de trompe-l'œil...

this trompe-l'œil effect...

Captions 35-36, Voyage en France - La ville de Provins

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We hope this lesson has helped you tromper l'ennui (stave off boredom)!


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