Is "rompre" a reflexive?

  • 1
    You should give the context in which you read these words. Nous, nous avons rompu... is an entirely possible grammatical construction (note the comma after the 1st nous) in which the repetition emphasises the subject (nous as opposed to s.o. else we've been talking about). This construction is the English equivalent of the stress being put on the personal pronoun ("we broke our engagement). But used in this way rompre isn't reflexive as said in the answers.
    – None
    Aug 18 at 8:05
  • Note that even if "rompre" had been reflexive, the reflexive form would have been "Nous nous sommes rompus", not "Nous nous avons rompu", because reflexive forms use the "être" auxiliary, not the "avoir" auxiliary, and the past participle's singular/plural mark should agree with the subject's in the reflexive form.
    – Stef
    Aug 19 at 9:36
  • @None or Nous? Nous avons rompu
    – WoJ
    Aug 20 at 12:09

6 Answers 6


Rompre can be reflexive but not in your example:

Nous avons rompu (nos fiançailles/notre relation).

It translates well "to break up" (to end a relationship.)

Here are reflexive and non-reflexive usages of rompre:

La branche s'est rompue.

[...] puisque nous nous sommes rompu le cœur comme on rompait l'hostie au moyen âge pour en prendre chacun sa moitié. Barbey d'Aurevilly, Correspondance générale, 1855

  • But is it regular now.
    – Brian
    Aug 17 at 23:33
  • @Brian It is correctly written now albeit still irregular.
    – jlliagre
    Aug 18 at 6:41
  • 1
    closer to the original example: "Nous nous somme rompu (le dos)"
    – Hoki
    Aug 18 at 13:27
  • But can the “break up” meaning be reflexive, or is the reflexive usage just for the literal sense of breaking, as in your example la branche s’est rompue? Aug 18 at 14:42
  • 1
    @PeterLeFanuLumsdaine No reflexive usage when about people separating. On a rompu (intransitive) = On a cassé (colloquial) = On a rompu nos fiançailles (formal, transitive-direct) = On s'est séparés (reflexive, reciprocal).
    – jlliagre
    Aug 18 at 22:14

Vous voulez soit

Nous avons rompu [notre couple/relation]


Nous nous sommes séparé(e)s

Notez l'auxiliaire dans chaque cas.


  1. https://www.wordreference.com/fren/s%C3%A9parer
  2. https://www.wordreference.com/fren/rompre
  3. https://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/french-verb-conjugation/passe-compose/
  • 2
    « Vous voulez » est un anglicisme non utilisé en français.
    – LPH
    Aug 18 at 13:18
  • 1
    AJA - merci. Qu'est ce qui est mieux alors, dans ce contexte ? Tout simplement « Vos options sont... » ou « Ce que vous voulez dire est exprimé soit par... », etc. ? Aug 18 at 13:28
  • 3
    Quelque chose comme ça va bien ; on peut aussi dire « vous avez les options suivantes ».
    – LPH
    Aug 18 at 13:36
  • 1
    ou simplement "C'est (la citation) soit (la citation)"
    – WoJ
    Aug 20 at 12:11

Whether or not the word "rompre" is reflexive, does not change the fact that the phrase "Nous nous avons rompu" can't be correct, because reflexive verbs are to be used with "être" in the passé composé:

Je me suis trompé.
Je me suis garé.


"Nous nous avons rompu" sounds like "We've broken ourselves up".

If it helps, try to remember the complete sentence while translating phrasal verbs (which don't really exist in french).

We broke up.

We've severed (our relationship).

Nous avons rompu (notre relation).


This verb is not reflexive when it has this meaning ("to break up"). It is only intransitive.

(TLFi) II. − Empl. intrans.
A. − […]
B. − […]
C. − Mettre brusquement un terme (à des relations, un propos, un entretien, etc.).
[En parlant d'amants, d'amoureux] Mettre fin à une liaison, se séparer. Rompre avec qqn.
• Il ne faut pas croire que de rompre avec une femme dont l'inconséquence est notoire et qui ne veut pas m'épouser, puisse former le sujet d'une accusation positive (Constant,Journaux, 1803, p. 48). C'était la fin. Elle le savait.
• Elle voulait rompre (A. France,Lys rouge, 1894, p. 71).

This can be said in only a rare kind of context where "nous" is used to emphasize an opposition, and this is not a reflexive use. It would be equivalent to a stressed "we" in English. However, a comma is necessary after the first "nous".

Here is an instance.

  • — Anne et moi avons eu une relation sentimentale avec des joueurs sans être conscientes du soucis constant que cela entraine. Elle et son amant se sont disputés pendant des mois, mais ils sont toujours ensemble ; Jacques et moi nous sommes aussi beaucoup disputés mais nous, nous avons rompu.

EDIT: Before you read:

Before you read this answer, notice that I'm answering the question in your title, which is treats on whether saying "nous nous avons rompus" is natural. To answer the question on whether "rompre" is a reflexive, it depends on whether the personal reflexive pronoun "se", whatever its conjugation, is placed before the verb. In other words, "rompre" is not a reflexive by default.

The original answer:

What you're looking for here is "nous nous sommes rompus", even though that is not a very common expression in French, if it means anything at all to an average audience. You were mistakenly using the auxiliary verb "avoir", or "to have", instead of "être", or "to be". The English equivalent is saying "I had sad" instead of "I was sad".

In regards to the particular expression you're looking for, I would rather say "nous nous sommes laissés," whose literal translation is "we let each other go." It is more widely recognised in French as meaning "we broke up," although it sounds rather figurative in English!

If, for some reason, you really feel like using the word "rompu" anyway, try jlliagre's suggestion: "Nous avons rompu notre relation, ou notre engagement," which translates literally to "we tore our relationship, or our engagement." Also, there is "nous avons rompu," or "we tore," which is really the shorter, more common way of saying the same thing.

As usual, you should consider the nationality of your audience before choosing an expression which you think is the most well suited in your context.

  • 1
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    Aug 18 at 22:50

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