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

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Mettersi in Italian

You might already know the verb “mettersi” in Italian. Mettersi  is the reflexive form of mettere (to put), and can be used in a variety of contexts.

In this lesson, we will learn how to use mettersi combined with the Italian preposition a: mettersi a… 

First of all, however, let’s see the conjugation of mettersi in the present, future and passato prossimo: 

Presente
io mi metto
tu ti metti
lui, lei, Lei si mette
noi ci mettiamo
voi vi mettete
loro, Loro si mettono
Futuro semplice
io mi metterò
tu ti metterai
lui, lei, 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, Lei si è messo/a
noi ci siamo messi/e
voi vi siete messi/e
loro, Loro si sono messi/e

Mettersi a…

mettersi a ridere

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 (piangere, studiare, ridere, etc.)

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

Mettersi a piovere.

mettersi a piovere

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

mettersi a dieta

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

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 a diet tomorrow.

Ma davvero vi siete messi a dieta?

Did you really start a diet?

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