How to use the verb METTERSI
Mettersi is an Italian verb that non-native speakers may struggle with. It is, nevertheless, commonly used in everyday Italian, and you may want to learn how to use it.
First of all, you might be familiar with mettere, which simply means to put. Well, mettersi, the reflexive version of mettere, is a whole different verb with a number of different meanings.
Before learning the meaning of this peculiar verb, let’s have a look at the conjugation of the verb in presente and passato prossimo of this reflexive verb.
- mi metto
- ti metti
- si mette
- ci mettiamo
- vi mettete
- si mettono
Passato prossimo (past tense)
- mi sono messo/a
- ti sei messo/a
- si è messo/a
- ci siamo messi/e
- vi siete messi/e
- si sono messi/e
To put on/to wear
Mettersi is to put on or wear something in its most basic sense.
- Mi metto sciarpa e cappello – I’m wearing a scarf and a hat
- Ti metti una gonna o un vestito per la cerimonia? – Are you putting on a skirt or a dress for the reception?
- Luca si mette gli occhiali da sole anche in inverno – Luca is wearing shades even in the winter
To start doing something
Mettersi is also commonly used with the pattern mettersi a + infinitive verb. Mettersi indicates to begin doing something in this context. It’s very common in spoken and informal Italian.
- Domani mi metto a dieta – Tomorrow I am starting a diet
- Devo mettermi a pulire la casa – I need to start cleaning up
- Mettiamoci a lavoro – let’s get down to business
Sometimes we can use mettersi in the context of taking up a new hobby or starting a new interest, for example
- Patrizia si è messa a studiare russo – Patrizia took up Russian
- MI sono messa a fare yoga – I took up yoga
To stay/to stand
Mettersi is a colloquial Italian word that implies to stay or stand.
- Mettiti seduto – stay sit
- Mettiti qui – stay here
- Mettiti in piedi – stay still
(all the forgoing sentences are in the imperative form)
Turning out well (or badly)
Mettersi can also be used to say that things are turning out well or badly for you in the expressions mettersi bene per and bettersi male per.
- Le cose si mettono bene per Franco, ha appena ricevuto una bella promozione a lavoro – Things are turning out well for Franco, he’s just got a promotion at work.
- Le cose si mettono male per Federica, ha perso il lavoro e ha finito i soldi – Things are turning out badly for Federica, she lost her job and ran out of money.
Common idiomatic expressions with mettersi
In addition, the verb mettersi appears in a number of idiomatic expressions.
The following are the most well-known:
- Mettersi in proprio: to set up one’s own business
- Mettersi a letto: to go to bed
- Mettersi in agitazione : to get worked up
- Mettersi all’opera : to get down to business
- Mettersi da parte: to back away, to set oneself aside
- Mettersi d’accordo su/con: to agree on/with
- Mettersi in cattiva luce : to appear in a bad light
- Mettersi in guardia: to take one’s guard
- Mettersi insieme: to start having a love affair
- Mettersi in malattia: to go on a sick leave
- Mettersi l’anima in pace: to send one’s mind at rest
- Mettersi nei panni di qualcuno: to put oneself in somebody else’s shoes
- Mettersi nei guai: to get into troubles
- Mettersi in contatto con qualcuno: to reach/contact someone