Mettre – to put

Mettre - French verb
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Put a French Verb

The irregular French verb mettre usually means "to put" but has some additional meanings and can also be used pronominally.

Mettre = to put

Generally speaking, mettre is equivalent to "to put," literally and figuratively.

Par exemple…

Tu peux mettre ta voiture dans le garage.   You can put your car in the garage.
Je ne mets jamais mon travail avant ma famille.   I never put my work before my family.
Nous la mettons parmi les plus grands écrivains.   We put (rate) her among the greatest writers.

Mettre = to put + preposition

1) to put on (wear)

Je vais mettre une robe.   I’m going to put on a dress.
Elle ne mets jamais du rouge.   She never wears red.

Synonym: porter

2) to put on, turn on

Je vais mettre la télé.   I’m going to put the TV on.
Qui a mis mon ordinateur ?   Who turned my computer on?

Synonym: allumer

Mettre à

1) to put something on/up/out to do something

Je vais mettre le pain à décongeler.   I’m going to put the bread out to defrost.
Mets la soupe à mijoter.   Put the soup on to simmer.

Synonym: causative construction

2) to put (time, effort) into

Il a mis trois heures à nettoyer.   He put 3 hours into cleaning, He spent 3 hours cleaning.
Je mets toute mon énergie à cuisiner.   I’m putting all my energy into cooking.

Synonym: consacrer


In the nous imperative, mettre can be a presentative meaning supposing, assuming:

Mettons qu’elle arrive demain …   Assuming she arrives tomorrow …
On y consacre 2 heures, mettons, et puis …   We’ll spend, say, 2 hours on it, and then …

Synonyms: assumer | présumer | supposer

Se mettre

As a pronominal verb, se mettre also has many different meanings.

1) to put on oneself

Je vais me mettre un pansement.   I’m going to put a bandage on.
Peux-tu te mettre une robe ?   Can you put on a dress?

2) to put oneself

Tu dois te mettre au chaud.   You need to go (stand/sit) in the warmth.
Je me suis mis au piano.   I sat down at the piano.

3) to belong in a place

Cette lampe se met à ma chambre.   This lamp goes / belongs in my bedroom.
Où se mettent les serviettes ?   Where do the napkins go / belong?

4) to become (weather)

J’espère qu’il se mettra au chaud samedi.   I hope it will get warm on Saturday.
Malheureusement, il se met à la pluie.   Unfortunately, it’s turning/getting wet.

5) se mettre à = to start, begin

Je vais me mettre au régime.   I’m going to start / go on a diet.
Pourquoi s’est-il mis à rire ?   Why did he start laughing?

Mettre in idiomatic expressions

Mettre is found in dozens of idiomatic expressions; here are just a few:

 Related lessons

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Mettre - to put

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