French Verb Focus: Mettre or ‘to Put’


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French Verb Focus: Mettre or ‘to Put’

The French verb mettre is a common but irregular verb which needs to be studied carefully. It means ‘to put’, but can also be used for dropping someone off somewhere, laying the table, taking time to do something, laying a carpet or hanging wallpaper.

Present tense

Je mets – I put, I am putting
Tu mets – you put, you are putting (sing.fam.)
Il met – he/it puts, he/it is putting
Elle met – she/it puts, she/it is putting
Nous mettons – we put, we are putting
Vous mettez – you put, you are putting (
Ils mettent – they put, they are putting (m.)
Elles mettent – they put, they are putting (f.)

(sing.fam.) – singular familiar
( – polite plural

Perfect tense – passé composé

J’ai mis – I put, I have put, I did put
Tu as mis – you put, you have put, you did put
Il a mis – he/it put, he/it has put, he/it did put
Elle a mis – she/it put, she/it has put, she/it did put
Nous avons mis – we put, we have put, we did put
Vous avez mis – you put, you have put, you did put
Ils/elles on mis – they put, they have put, they did put

Future tense

Je mettrai ma nouvelle robe. – I will put my new dress on.
Tu mettras le chauffage le soir? – Will you put the heating on in the evening?
Il mettra cinq heures à le faire. – It will take him five hours to do it.
Elle mettra le linge à secher. – She will hang the washing out.
Nous ne vous mettrons pas dans une situation difficile. – We won’t put you in a difficult situation.
Vous mettrez de l’argent dans une affaire? – Will you put money into a business?
Ils te mettront devant la gare. – They will drop you off at the station.
Elles me mettront dans le train. – They will put me on the train.

Imperfect tense

Je mettais le chat dehors chaque soir. – I used to put the cat out every evening.

Conditional tense

Je ne mettrais pas d’argent sur un cheval. – I wouldn’t put money on a horse.


Il ne faut pas que vous mettiez des idées dans la tête de votre mère. – You mustn’t put ideas into your mother’s head.


Mets de la peinture sur la porte. – Put a coat of paint on the door.
Mettez la machine en route. – Start up the machine.
Mettons qu’elle a raison. – Let’s suppose/assume she’s right. (The subjunctive could also be used after ‘mettons que’.)

There is a reflexive form, se mettre, followed by the preposition ‘à’. It means ‘to start’/’to begin’:

Elle s’est mise à pleurer. – She started to cry.

With thanks to Elizabeth Allen

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