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Please tell me how to use sat / sitting / seated

(7 Posts)
YoureGonnaHearMeRoar Mon 25-Jan-16 08:58:11

I'm usually quite good on this sort of thing but am never sure if I'm using the right one when it comes to 'to sit'! smile


ApplesinmyPocket Mon 25-Jan-16 09:49:32

I'll have a go at this since no-one else has but maybe someone else will come and along and put it better!

"I sat down" is fine - that's just the past tense.

But never say 'I was sat there' or 'he/she/it/they were sat...' because the correct term in nearly all cases is 'I was sitting'.

Being 'SAT' there implies someone else did it to you, eg "I sat the toddler beside her sisters in the restaurant" is correct - you did it TO her.

'Seated' also carries the meaning of 'doing it TO someone' . Thus, 'he was seated by the exit' implies the choice of seat was not his own.

I've seen 'they were sat there' and 'the group was stood around the corner' in national newspapers and heard it on TV news reports quite often lately, so I think usage is changing, but it does sound wrong to anyone who learned it the other way years ago!

titchy Mon 25-Jan-16 10:17:00

It's a regular verb isn't it, just with a different ending for the past tense, which lots of verbs have (swam, not swimmed, ran, not runned), so it has the same rules as most other verbs?

So the past tense is sat. I sat on the floor. Same as I walked through the park. Perfect (I think, past continuous, describing the doing of an action when another event is the main part of the sentence) is sitting, I was sitting on the floor when the man shouted. Again same as walking. I was walking through the park when the man shouted. Seated - needs something further and implies a third party was in charge of the action you did. So I was seated on the front row. I was walked through the alleyway. Not all verbs have this variant as it wouldn't be appropriate.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Mon 25-Jan-16 19:41:38

Sat is just the irregular past tense of sit, it's also the past participle of sit.

You form the passive of any verb with to be + the past participle so "I was sat" as pps have said, suggests that someone else put you in that position.

I was sitting is past continuous/progressive and would be used to describe a longer period of sitting generally interrupted by a shorter action. "I was sitting watching the telly when the phone rang"

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Mon 25-Jan-16 19:44:10

Sorry, missed "seated". As others have said, this is an adjective that needs the verb "to be" in front of it to make it another passive form.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Mon 25-Jan-16 19:45:38

I suppose we could say "we seated ourselves by the door" but that would sound a bit weird. We'd just say "we sat..." So yes, although it's not a hard and fast rule, I'd stick with it being another passive form.

YoureGonnaHearMeRoar Fri 29-Jan-16 02:56:43

So, if you have the 'be verb' then you should use sitting? "I was sitting", unless someone did it to you, then it becomes "I was seated on the front row".

I hate "I was sat" with a passion!!

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