"I was sat" is incorrect!

(100 Posts)
forshitsandgiggles Tue 10-Apr-12 02:23:40

Does anyone else want to scream/throw things upon hearing the increasingly common misuse of the past participle? It has become the norm for people to say "he was SAT over there..." when it should be "he was sitting over there" or "we were led down" no, you were "lying down", you daft muppets.

Sorry to rant but I'm sick of hearing this and wonder if it bothers anybody else? I always use a particular example to illustrate this point. You would always say "I was swimming" and not "I was swam", as the latter sounds, frankly, ridiculous.

CurrySpice Wed 11-Apr-12 14:29:34

Oh I speak in a completely different accent to my family than I do at work. Completely unintentionally, it just happens naturally. My kids can tell when I've been on the phone to my mom because of how I am talking grin

At work, I have an boring accent that's difficult to place. With my family, I am all Black Country and proud

habbibu Wed 11-Apr-12 14:31:00

I mean, think of parents who each speak a different native language around children - not such a stretch to think that it can work for dialects. particularly as when the children are older you can tell them when it's more appropriate to use a standard form.

CurrySpice Wed 11-Apr-12 14:34:17

DP and his ex and their 2 kids arrived in England 12 years ago. None of them spoke English.

They all speak fluent English now. The kids speak it with an impeccable English accent (to the extent that you wouldn't know they weren't English). DP and his ex speak English with a strong Dutch accent.

habbibu Wed 11-Apr-12 14:36:52

Nickel, you can also model standard English with story Cds, etc - dd and ds have my dad's old ipod, with loads of audio books on it. They listen to it as they're going to sleep.

Mrskbpw Wed 11-Apr-12 14:38:14

CurrySpice - me too. I was born in Edinburgh but moved to London when I was 7. My Scottish accent barely got a mention at primary school but I was tormented at secondary, so deliberately decided to speak 'Scottish' at home and 'English' at school. Now I just have a London accent (though I can turn on Edinburgh if I need to!). My brother, who was just three when we moved (and is now 34), still has a Scottish accent...

nickelhasababy Wed 11-Apr-12 14:48:02

stories? stooories?! shock
she'll be having none of that nonsense! wink

(sorry, couldn't help it. blushThat is a good plan, actually, get someone else to read the stories to her...)
now, DH is very good at reading stories - he speaks properly when he reads. confused

nickelhasababy Wed 11-Apr-12 14:49:07

there, that's what confuses me. He's a wonderful reader. he reads all the time but he still doesn't understand the grammar.

habbibu Wed 11-Apr-12 14:50:11

It's just a way of getting extra stories in, tbh. Because I am Very Lazy. And dd puts it on when she wakes up, thereby leaving us in peace. She does get some funny turns of phrase, mind.

habbibu Wed 11-Apr-12 14:51:24

He understands it, but doesn't generate it, iyswim? DH reads really difficult German books for work (he's an academic), but really can't speak the language. It's a similar concept for dialect.

CurrySpice Wed 11-Apr-12 14:53:06

Nickel - like everyone else, he uses different "versions" of English, depending on the situation. In a business meeting, I speak differently to how I do to the kids, or in the pub watching footie (*COME ON YOU WOLVES*)

So when he reads he speaks one way. When he's asking you to do something, he knows it's perfectly fine to say quick not quickly wink

Rinkan Wed 11-Apr-12 18:22:33

PimpMyTunnel- you do, erm, realise that you are in Pedants' Corner, don't you? There is no place for that sort of nonsense here wink

IAmSherlocked Wed 11-Apr-12 18:55:18

The best story CDs for this are the Just William CDs read by Martin Jarvis. Richmal Crompton has such a distinctive turn of phrase; it's hilarious to hear DS talk after he's been immersed in William's world for an hour or two grin

forshitsandgiggles Thu 12-Apr-12 00:32:12

Oh my goodness, have just looked at this and am so glad I am not alone in hearing nails on a chalkboard with the sat/sitting thing! I also agree about the Just William thing, 1920s English is the way forward, chums! I absolutely love to watch "Bright Young Things" (amazing film, directed by Stephen Fry) for a couple of hours of immersion into a time of impeccable manners (if not behaviour!) and beautiful language!

Savannahgirl Thu 12-Apr-12 08:20:58

The one thing that strikes me above all else, when thinking about this discussion, is how amazing it is for such a small island to have SO many regional accents.

I suspect, sadly, a few decades from now, it will be very different as the population is now so mobile - will we all have slight variations on just one accent, I wonder?

conantg Wed 05-Sep-12 08:29:39

Thank you, thank you for this post. "Was sat" and "was stood" have been making me scream with impotent fury for several years. I even wrote to the BBC because Charlie Stayt uses these incorrect constructions. He's still doing it.

TudorJess Sat 15-Sep-12 22:45:51

It's northern dialect. But of course, if anyone says it when it's not their dialect, it may be wrong wink

Chrisbassplayer Fri 16-Nov-12 23:08:35

I was listening to the BBC news show "Newsday" the other evening, and presenter Lerato Mbele, a very articulate young South African woman with otherwise impeccable grammar, used the phrase "I was sat". She was not using "sat" as an active verb, as if someone else had "sat" her down. I was stunned, thinking here is a part of speech I am not familiar with, assuming that a BBC presenter would never use poor grammar. Now that I think of it, my bubble was already burst the first time I heard a BBC presenter use the word "Nucular", which is used by otherwise educated conservatives in America, to show solidarity with their Neocon cohorts (Ronald Regan and George W. Bush being notable users of this bastardization. They also both had some basic cognitive disabilities). It is also occasionally the result of a simple slip of the tongue by some. "I was sat" on the other hand, simply seems to be a bad habit, reflecting an incomplete education.

Crikeyblimey Fri 16-Nov-12 23:18:52

IRS not norther dialect. I'm northern and unless someone sat me somewhere, I am sitting. Not dialect - just wrong. Doesn't mean I don't say it occasionally but I do know I'm wrong.

If anyone said "i was sat..." to my dad he would quickly respond with "really? Who sat you there?"

Yappypuppy Sun 10-Mar-13 15:25:34

You wouldn't say" I was drunk" when you really meant "I was drinking" so I can't see why people think" I was sat " is correct unless you had been put there by somebody.

gobbin Tue 02-Apr-13 15:24:39

I'm from Lancashire and, when younger, would say things like "Me and Donna were sat on the swings when..." which would make my (Scots) mum wibble. "It's Donna and I, and you were sitting, not sat!" Big bugbear of hers.

The other one I never knew I did until pointed out at Uni, although not wrong, but very northern was this:

<Friend> "I can't knit."
<Me> "Oh, can you not?"

Friend would've said "Oh, can't you?"

I 'can you not', 'do you not' and 'will you not' all over the place!

Wicklow Wed 17-Apr-13 14:19:03

I live in southern Ireland, I was educated in a Dublin Grammar school, I was then a student of English in Trinity College Dublin (late 80s). Since I was a nipper its always been "I was sitting there" and "I was standing" He was sitting over there . . . . I was sitting over there too, we were standing, they were sitting, we were all sitting over there!

Then in about 1990 when I was teaching in Surrey, I first heard "I was stood over there" from an other primary school teacher of all people! and from that day onwards I have got more and more dumbfounded as to how this appalling trend has gainded ground in thew South of England, possibly through the mediums of TV & Radio?

Not a day goes by now without some highly paid presenter and/or guest on the BBC, ITV, or Sky uttering the awful grammar "I was sat in the front row" or, they were stood at the bus stop, or we were all sat there, they were all sat over there, etc etc etc . . . . .

Oh, it makes my blood boil.

Interestingly, the traditional/standard forms "I was sitting" and "I was standing" are still the norm in Ireland both North & South, and I have yet to hear the new forn of non-standard 'test speak' grammar in Ireland - Thank God.

I guess the teaching of standard English grammar in English schools has sadly been relaxed, for at least a couple of decades . . .

ToffeeWhirl Fri 19-Apr-13 12:52:16

Agree with you, op. It makes me mad. And, as Wicklow points out above, it is becoming common to hear it on radio and TV. I wondered if it was a new linguistic virus.

The other thing that is driving me mad (and I keep seeing it on MN) is people saying 'I might not of', instead of 'have'. Grr.

I tie myself in knots working out if there's any way it could be legitimate.

"At my sister's wedding I was sat next to a dishy accountant" - ok ok seating plan.

Language changes and that's both inexorable and fine. But when changes reduce richness (eg conflating "may" and "might", or "sitting" and "sat") then I think we should fight to keep the useful distinctions.

That said, I think I am alone in fighting to keep the genitive In such phrases as "I really must insist on your arriving earlier next time" or the subjunctive in "He demanded that I be on time on the next occasion." sad

miffybun73 Thu 20-Jun-13 21:57:00

He was sat over there only if someone picked him up and put him down in a sitting position.

It's just wrong, wrong, wrong.

LondonBus Thu 20-Jun-13 22:00:34

I used to work with a teacher who said this.

Drove me fecking insane.

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