French The Verb "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.

Chef puts the fish on a plate.

Mettre, meaning “to put” is another common irregular verb in French. Below is the chart outlining the unique conjugations for this irregular verb along with some example sentences.

Subject PronounMettreMeaningExampleTranslation
JemetsI put I am puttingJe mets ma bouteille sur la table.I put my bottle on the table.
TumetsYou put You are puttingTu mets les livres dans ton sac-à-dos.You are putting the books in your backpack.
Il/Elle/OnmetHe/She/One puts He/She/One is puttingElle met de l’argent dans un portefeuille.She puts some money in a wallet.
NousmettonsWe put We are puttingNous mettons le couvert avant le dîner.We set the table before dinner.
VousmettezYou put You are puttingVous mettez vos chaussures pour le match.You put on your shoes for the game.
Ils/EllesmettentThey put They are puttingDans les journaux, ils mettent des articles.In the newspapers, they put some articles.

Notes :

  • In the negative form, ne and pas must sandwich the conjugated verb in the sentence.

            On ne met pas de manteau quand il fait très chaud.
            One doesn’t put on any jacket when it’s really hot.

  • Mettre is also used in a lot of different expressions. These expressions are usually idiomatic, which means that the whole meaning of the expression is different from what each word means individually and strung together. You will learn idiomatic expressions in a future module.

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Specific Capabilities at this Level
I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.