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Elle a gobé mon histoire sans broncher. Alors qu'elle aurait dû se montrer plus vigilante.

I’m not certain how this expression differs in meaning from simply using "être":

Alors qu'elle aurait dû être plus vigilante.

By the way, does the phrase "gober ~~~ sans broncher" mean "swallow ~~~ hook, line, and sinker"? The exact meaning of "sans broncher" eludes me.

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    sans broncher, gober 2. – Laure Aug 5 '16 at 12:50
  • You can compare se montrer + adj to "show onelself + adj" – Laure Aug 5 '16 at 12:55
  • @Laure: Actually, I've found out myself too that "sans broncher" means "without flinching", "without turning a hair", or "without batting an eye". The thing is that the meaning of these three English expressions leans towards "cold-heartedly without showing any emotion that is normally expected in the given situation" -- used in a context like "She killed the cat without batting an eye" etc. As such, they don't seem to fit well with the verbs "gober/avaler". I mean, "swallow a story cold-heartedly"? So I was wondering if I can use "swallow a story without doubting a thing" instead? Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Aug 5 '16 at 13:30
  • Then could say sans la moindre hésitation ou sans hésiter. – Laure Aug 5 '16 at 13:57
  • @Laure Oh, I see. Do you ever use the phrase "gober ~~~ sans broncher" yourself? Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Aug 5 '16 at 14:02
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The meaning is indeed almost exactly the same, as you said.

If you want to enter the world of nuances in the other hand, there's arguably a slight difference in use, and it is that se montrer vigilant is focusing more on showing this characteristic at this moment and place specifically, not generally in life. In other words, être vigilant could more easily imply a judgment on the person, where se montrer vigilant is all about the situation, regardless of this person being cautious as a personal trait or not.

  • I'd say paraître is closer to the meaning. – Archa Aug 5 '16 at 13:00
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    @Archa closer to which meaning ? Yes, se montrer + adj can mean paraitre. But it's not the case in the specific use LUNA quoted. Who would ever advise someone to seem vigilant ? It would make absolutely no sense. – RomainValeri Aug 5 '16 at 13:02
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By the way, does the phrase "gober ~~~ sans broncher" mean "swallow ~~~ hook, line, and sinker"? The exact meaning of "sans broncher" eludes me.

Gober is used for animals who swallow a prey without chewing, especially for frogs eating flies. Figuratively, it means to accept something without thinking, generally by being too naive. It is quite common in French, with or without sans broncher.

Je lui ai raconté n'importe quoi et il a tout gobé (sans broncher) ?

Sans broncher means that someone surprisingly does not react to a situation where most people would. Note that it is surprising for the person who uses "sans broncher". So if I say:

Il s'est fait pourrir par le prof mais il n'a pas bronché.

(He's been roasted by the teacher but he stayed surprisingly calm.)

it means that I was surprised that he could stay so calm in that situation.

So gober... sans broncher means that someone naively believed a bunch of lies and that the person speaking is surprised it was that easy.

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