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To mourn the loss of the word 'sitting' from English?

124 replies

UngratefulMoo · 18/08/2015 06:23

No one seems to use it these days. It's all, 'I was sat there', 'She was sat down'.... well, no, unless you were forcibly put there or instructed to sit by someone else, I think you'll find you were 'sitting' there.

Where has the word sitting gone, and am I alone, or unreasonable in pining for it?

OP posts:

redexpat · 18/08/2015 06:27

I have noticed that the same is happening with stood\standing too. If you go over to pedant's corner you will find like minded people.


Gooseysgirl · 18/08/2015 06:30

YANBU Hmm drives me nuts


MythicalKings · 18/08/2015 06:31

YANBU and in this house we are sitting or standing.


emilywrites · 18/08/2015 06:37

We Americans still use "sitting" (a bit like we also still use "gotten", though I've learned that one really irritates in the UK). I would never say that I am "sat" somewhere. "I was sitting on my favorite chair after I'd gotten out my Kindle".


LindyHemming · 18/08/2015 06:40

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pointlessfan · 18/08/2015 06:46

YANBU. It's the same with taken/took e.g. the children had their school photo took on Monday. Grrr!


Motortrader · 18/08/2015 06:48

YABU, 'cos your hypothesis is wrong - sitting isn't dead, it's sat in the corner sulking.


wigglesrock · 18/08/2015 06:48

I've never said sat instead of sitting, never in my long legged life. I'm from NI.


AlpacaKitchenSink · 18/08/2015 06:49

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RolyPolierThanThou · 18/08/2015 06:51

I disagree. There is a subtle difference in meaning between sat and sitting (or at least there is in how I use it).

I would say 'I was sat there....' if I'm also trying to convey a certain degree of annoyance or unwillingness about it. 'I was sat there like an idiot, waiting for her to get back'. Or if the sitting is not the actual point of my story (the other action is. The sitting is incidental).

When I use 'sitting', it's more neutral. 'I was sitting on a deck chair, watching people go by, why what we're you doing?'

If there is a subtle difference in meaning, I think it's legitimate to use a different (even 'wrong', grammatically) word.

I get accused of pedantry all the time by my family but I'm an unusual pedant in that I think of language as a shared tool, used by consensus. Pinning words down to only how YOU think they should be used is futile. Words evolve (which is a good thing). Some come to take on more meaning or a subtle one, others lose it.

I'm happy to accept that perhaps one day, my way of speaking, my grammar or my vocabulary will sound outdated. If sitting becomes archaic, so be it (though it won't stop me using it, forsooth).


NoArmaniNoPunani · 18/08/2015 06:54

YANBU. This annoys me too.


flanjabelle · 18/08/2015 06:58

I still use sitting. I didn't realise people didn't. I really need to pay more attention to these things.


mummytime · 18/08/2015 06:58

Umm SE England and haven't noticed it around here. I just put it down to lack of education if I hear it, my children don't use it.


var123 · 18/08/2015 07:00

Is "I was sat" proper English? Genuine question because it doesn't sound right to me.

I don't say that. I say I am sitting on the sofa. Or I was sitting on the sofa after I sat down.


Marmite27 · 18/08/2015 07:03

It's the in gs that are missing, keep seeing 'having a play' 'having a pamper'

Cop on folks it's playing and pampering!


Dontstepinthecowpat · 18/08/2015 07:03

I'm with Roly, if DH stole my seat I would say 'I was sat there' or if I was telling him something 'I was sitting by the window when the cat caught a mouse'.

I've no idea why I use them this way.


Emochild · 18/08/2015 07:05

Sitting is very much alive in my house


janetandroysdaughter · 18/08/2015 07:07

YANBU. I love how language changes (great post RolyPolier) but am wary of anything that reduces it, rather than expanding it, that generalises, and loses nuance rather than adding it. So RolyPolier's suggestion that 'I was sat' conveys a certain impatience is a very pleasing distinction from the calmer 'I was sitting' but both must live.


var123 · 18/08/2015 07:09

Is "I was sat" a north of England grammar thing that dies out as it crosses the border into Scotland? I don't hear it in Scotland nor in the Home Counties.


MythicalKings · 18/08/2015 07:10

If you were sat there it means someone put you there. "I was sat at the table by the waiter."

That's the only time it's acceptable.


var123 · 18/08/2015 07:11

And when did "passed" come into the language replacing passed away? I notice it everywhere suddenly.


MrsBobDylan · 18/08/2015 07:17

Yanbu. I love sitting, both the word and the action.


elementofsurprise · 18/08/2015 07:17

I think YABU unless it's come from the US. Nothing against those in the US, but hearing Americanisms in the UK just shows people spend more time watching TV than interacting with their fellow citizens. (ESOL excepted)

It's so hard to tell though. My grammar nazi radar has been broken since "literally" went haywire...


UngratefulMoo · 18/08/2015 07:21

Agreed that there is a difference in meaning. Sat implies passivity, as someone or something else has sat you there, so yes, that makes sense.

I don't think that's how most people use it though. I think it has become interchangeable with sitting. So I agree with Janetandroysdaughter that as a result we lose a shade of meaning from the language. Which is a shame.

OP posts:

Cooroo · 18/08/2015 07:22

Can 'seated' join the party? In the example above it should be 'I was seated at the table by the waiter'. 'The guests are all seated' means something different from 'The guests are all sitting'.

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