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Word comparisons

Note 278 – Confusion with the words sat, seated and sitting

English: An office chair that can swivel and b...

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“Is this a case of regional variation taking over?” said a work colleague when reading the following paragraph in the Metro newspaper:

“A child can now be at greater risk sat in their bedroom on their computer than outside the school gates.”

(Source: London Metro, 31 Jan 2012.  Article: More at risk online than outside)

Should it be sat, seated or even sitting?  If you take some words out and put some missing ones in, it’s actually saying “A child can be at greater risk (when they are) sat in their bedroom….”.  Surely you wouldn’t say ‘are sat’.  Maybe it should be seated or sitting.

A slight variation to this is on word where they say that the phrase “I’m sat in my chair” isn’t standard; however, they mention that there are actually two verbs to seat and to sit.  Consider the following: 

  • Going back to the quote above, if it was intended that the child has been put in his/her chair by someone else (using the past tense of the verb to seat), maybe it would be correct to say “A child can now be at greater risk seated in their bedroom….”, but I’m not sure if that was the intention.  
  • If it was intended that the child sat there by themselves (using the present participle of the verb to sit) then maybe the sentence should have been “A child can now be at greater risk sitting in their bedroom…”. The past tense possibly doesn’t fit here because really you would be saying ‘a child is sat in their bedroom’ and that just sounds wrong to me.

Comments welcome please, as I’m sure there are some rules here that I am unaware of!  I received mixed responses today when I circulated a draft copy of this blog to my work colleagues.

Until tomorrow…
Sandra Madeira
Freelance Writer


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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