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Added by November 7, 2014



The French verb “METTRE” (to put/set) is a treacherous one as it can take on various meanings depending on the structure and the expression it is part of. Let’s start on how to conjugate this verb in the present tense of the indicative and of the imperative. Then we’ll learn a few useful expressions including METTRE.

METTRE (Present, Indicative)        METTRE (Present, Imperative)

JE METS  (I put)                                                                           METS (Put!)

TU METS (You put)                                                                       METTONS (Let’s put!)

IL/ELLE/ON MET (He/She/It puts/We put)                                    METTEZ (Put!)



ILS METTENT (They put)



  • The verb “METTRE”  blends into quite a few idiomatic expressions. Here’s a list of some of the most common ones:

Learn French expression: mettre la tableMETTRE LA TABLE/LE COUVERT = to set the table

METTRE LES BOUCHÉES DOUBLE = to work twice as hard

METTRE FIN À = to put an end to

METTRE AU COURANT (slang version: METTRE AU JUS) = to inform

METTRE À L’HEURE = to set at the right time

METTRE AU PIED DU MUR = to force someone to say/do something

METTRE LE HOLÀ = to set limits / to stop

METTRE À LA PORTE = to kick out

METTRE LES PIEDS DANS LE PLAT = to say something one’s shouldn’t have said

METTRE (MAL) À L’AISE = to make someone feel (un)comfortable

METTRE AU GOÛT DU JOUR = to make something fashionable

METTRE AU CLAIR = to clarify

  • SE METTRE Àis a grammatical structure that translates the idea of starting to do something. 

This expression can be followed by a verb in the infinite form. 

Ex. Il se met à rire quand il la voit, c’est systématique! (He starts laughing when he sees her, it’s systematic!)

Or it can be followed by a noun: 

Ex. Mettons-nous au travail maintenant! (Let’s start working now!)

  • And here’s a list of “SE METTRE” phrases. Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive…

SE METTRE EN COLÈRE = to get mad

SE METTRE À TABLE = to sit at the table to eat

SE METTRE EN TÊTE = to set one’s mind to do something

SE METTRE AU LIT = to get into bed

SE METTRE AU GOÛT DU JOUR = to get up to speed with current tastes

SE METTRE AVEC QUELQU’UN = to move in with somebody

Bon français à tous!

Soraya Garre, French actress


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