How to use “mettersi a”: Italian grammar lesson 157


Unlock the secrets of the Italian verb mettersi! This guide takes you through its reflexive form, conjugations, and common expressions, making it a breeze to start speaking like a local. 🇮🇹✨

  • Conjugation is key: Master mettersi in different tenses – presente, futuro semplice, and passato prossimo – to express yourself accurately in Italian.
  • Start something new: Use mettersi a + verb to convey the beginning of an action. It’s a handy tool for sharing what you or others are up to.
  • Weather talk: Chat about the weather like a pro with phrases like mettersi a piovere (to start raining) – a must-know for any Italian conversation!
  • Diet dialogue: Discuss health and habits with the phrase mettersi a dieta (to start a diet). It’s a common expression that might come in handy after indulging in Italian cuisine!
  • Colloquial charm: Embrace the colloquial use of mettersi to sound more native and less like a textbook. It’s perfect for casual chats with friends and family.

My thoughts

What does mettersi mean in Italian?

Mettersi is the reflexive form of mettere (to put), and it can be used combined with the Italian preposition a.

First of all, let’s see the conjugation of mettersi in the presente, futuro semplice and passato prossimo:

io mi metto
tu ti metti
lui / lei si mette
noi ci mettiamo
voi vi mettete
loro, Loro si mettono


Futuro semplice
io mi metterò
tu ti metterai
lui / lei si metterà
noi ci metteremo
voi vi metterete
loro, Loro si metteranno


Passato prossimo
io mi sono messo/a
tu ti sei messo/a
lui / lei si è messo/a
noi ci siamo messi/e
voi vi siete messi/e
loro, Loro si sono messi/e

How to use mettersi a + verb?

Simply put, mettersi a + verb  means to start doing something.

Have a look at the examples below:

Appena l’ho visto mi sono messa a piangere.

As soon as I saw him I started crying.

Carlo finalmente si è messo a studiare sul serio.

Carlo finally started studying seriously.

Sono sicura che si metterà a ridere quando mi vede.

I am sure she’ll start laughing when she sees me.

As you can see from the examples above, we can use mettersi a in all tenses followed by a verb in the infinitive mood.

This construction is colloquial and quite common when talking to your family and friends in Italian.

What are some common expressions with mettersi?

Mettersi a piovere

This construction (mettersi a + infinitive verb) is also often used to talk about the weather, especially with regard to precipitations.

You will often find it with the verbs piovere (to rain) and nevicare (to snow).

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In this case, it is said in its impersonal form.

Have a look at the examples below:

Volevamo andare al parco ma si è messo a piovere.

We wanted to go to the park, but it started raining.

Si è messo a nevicare appena sono arrivata e non ha ancora smesso!

It started snowing when I arrived, and it hasn’t stopped yet!

Mettersi a dieta

Apart from the construction mettersi a + infinitive verbthere are some set expressions in Italian that use the same verb.

The most widely used is mettersi a dieta (to start a diet). As you can see here, we do not need to use a verb in the infinitive mood, but we simply add the noun dieta (diet) after the preposition a. 

Da domani mio marito si mette a dieta.

My husband will start to diet tomorrow.

Ma davvero vi siete messi a dieta?

Did you really start a diet?

What does "mettersi a" mean in Italian?

It means to start doing something.

How to form "mettersi a "?

"Mettersi a" in all verb tenses followed by a verb in the infinitive mood.

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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2 Responses

  1. Per il esempio “da domani mio marito si mette a domani”, e’ meglio dire ” da domani mio marito si metterà a domani”, perché e’ nel futuro?

    1. Ciao!

      The Italian expression mettersi a can be used in all tenses and is followed by an infinitive verb.

      In particular, for the set expression mettersi a dieta it’s not necessary to use a verb in the infinitive mood but to just add the noun dieta after the preposition a.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions or doubts.

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