And here's one with both
What do they mean?
Are we witnessing a revival?
- by a Labour member of parliament.
- by a Welsh comedian on the quiz programme based on the use of language 'Just a Minute' (without any comment from the other participants, who are usually very quick to spot any grammatical errors).
- by the narrator of a dramatisation of a Scandinavian crime thriller - Larssen was sat at his desk
What is their status?
Am I suggesting that learners should use these expressions?
So what's happening grammatically?
A false passive?
- He sat the child down at the table.
- She stood the ladder against the wall.
- If you'd like to sit yourselves down over there.
- The nurse took me through to the recovery room where I was sat in an armchair. (by the nurse)
- I was sat to work cleaning some small brass decorations. (by my boss)
- First I was sat at a table by a rude hostess.
Two verbs - sit and seat
- Please wait here to be seated. (notice in typical pizza restaurant)
- Ladies and Gentlemen, please be seated. (formal announcement at a ceremonial dinner)
- He seated himself behind the desk.
- This bus can seat 100 passengers.
- Il était debout au coin de la rue. (= He was standing at the corner of the street)
- Elle était assise sous un arbre. (= She was sitting under a tree)
- He was stood at the corner of the street.
- She was sat under a tree.
Digression - the exams will be sat
- A-levels will only be sat in summer.
- The patio had been carefully positioned to get the best of the afternoon sun.
- Two vases of flowers had been placed on the table.
- These events have been clearly situated in their historical context.
- The patio is positioned to get the best of the afternoon sun.
- There were two vases of flowers placed in the middle of the table.
- The house is situated between two large oak trees.
Other idiomatic expressions with past participles.
- He's a bit run off his feet just now (He's very busy)
- She's a bit run down at the moment (She's feeling exhausted)
- OK. Are we all done? (Have we all finished?)
- I'm all done in (I'm exhausted)
Are we done? I'm done.
Is standard English static?
Examples from literature
In her apartment grieving for your fate
Some more examples from Google books - 'he was sat'
Some more examples from Google Books - 'he was stood'
Examples from the British press and other media
- According to the Toronto Sun (via NME), 50-year-old Eric Costello's daughter was sat on her father's shoulders waving a placard that said "Smash Your Guitar, Pete!"
The Guardian 04/03/2013
- Police were called to the scene and when an officer approached him, he was sat at a table reading a book.
The Independent 15/03/2013
- the low-power E-Ink can display passive information (like notifications or the time when the phone is sat on a desk) without draining the battery.
The Independent 14/11/2013
- So furious were Inter that Francesco Toldo, the reserve goalkeeper, was cautioned for dissent even though he was sat on the bench
The Times 25/02/2009
The Daily Telegraph
- Steve Cram was sat alongside Brendan Foster in the BBC’s commentary box on that extraordinary evening
The Daily Telegraph 28/12/2012
- During one call Mrs Allen even told nurses she was with her mother who was sat up in bed, chatting and drinking a cup of tea.
The Daily telegraph 04/02/2103
- Kim, who was sat in the audience during the show, is said to have not known that her man would reveal their pregnancy and was in shock like many of the rappers fans.
Daily Mail 31/12/2012
- Fabio struggled to hide his emotions when Rafael's shot flew past keeper Julio Cesar as he was sat next to QPR owner Tony Fernandes.
Daily Mail 26/02/2013
- The former Hull City chief executive – who was sat in the directors box at Headingley
Daily Express 02/02/2013
- In contrast, love-rat Rupert was sat on a step eating a takeaway sandwich.
The Mirror 16/01/2013
- "Did you expect to become this successful?" Caroline then asked Zayn. Who was sat next to Harry. Who was staring at the floor.
The Mirror 11/11/2012
- A ROBBER dressed as a G4S guard walked out of a store with £14,000 takings — while the real security man was sat outside reading a paper.
The Sun 18/09/2012
- A DOPEY taxi driver zoomed off in his cab - without realising a four-month-old baby was sat in the back.
The Sun 08/05/12
BBC Regional News
The Guardian Northerner's Blog
- As a result, such places are seldom much fun. Bright lights, fusty smells, sticky tables: they can exude a cold, static atmosphere, a room-full of people killing time, sat alone and in silence, other than the TV stuck on a sports news channel or the beep and clatter of bandits and quiz machines.
The Northerner Blog
- The Tap provides £100,000 in rent per year to the railway station, money that when the building was sat empty, simply wasn't there.
The Northerner Blog
- This was not simply because she was sat on my table in the Great Hall of Manchester Town Hall, albeit separated by large swags of fruit and flowers
The Northerner Blog
Google site searches for was sat in the British press
League table on Tuesday 26th April 2013, but the numbers have changed considerably, so I've removed them.
|The Daily Mail|
|The Daily Express|
|The Daily Telegraph|
|The Daily Mirror|
- Oxford Dictionaries Blog
- Pain in the English
- Mumsnet - Most of them seem to miss the point completely
- Yahoo Answers - fairly typical forum stuff - people thinking a basic knowledge of grammar makes them experts.
- CCC.Net Forums - an American view
- BBC Learning English - excellent discussion about the differences between standard and non-standard English
- Google Books - he was sat
- Google Books - he was stood
- Ngram - was sat and stood - 1900-2008
- Ngram - was sat and stood - 1800-2008
- BBC MBRadio - discussion page