"We were sat" -- a new UK trend?

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parap

Senior Member
Mainly US English
Hi,

This one is especially for the UK members here. In the last few years, I've come across more and more people from the UK who use the construction "I was sat on the bench" or "we were stood right here" instead of "I was sitting" and "we were standing." In the last few months, I've even heard it on the BBC, used by BBC anchors! I was listening to a program on the BBC yesterday, and the host said "I am stood here with Michael," instead of "I am standing here." Is this a new trend in the UK/England?
 
  • parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Thanks, Thomas.

    I don't object to "I am seated" either, because "seated" is not a verb, but an adjective.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Is this a new trend in the UK/England?
    I don't think it's a new trend: several regional varieties of English have always (to the best of my knowledge) used the past participle instead of the present participle in this construction.

    What is, perhaps, new (-ish) is the wider acceptance - or even appreciation/encouragement - of regional varieties, not just in institutions like the BBC, but more generally. I can remember a time when pretty much the only accent you heard on the TV/radio was RP, other than the odd terribly-fake Cockney that turned up now and then in films. (Oh, and series about Scottish doctors.) That is absolutely not the case now. And on a more personal note, my parents [both Welsh, both teachers] deliberately lost their Welsh accents, whereas I - equally deliberately - have kept my Somerset one.

    I think what we have here is a societal change, not a linguistic one :)
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Thanks, Loob! I'm aware of the fact that the BBC has been trying to diversify accents over the past few years, but I didn't know that they are now also encouraging or allowing their own people to use dialectal grammar (nothing wrong with that per se, just a little strange, since you'd expect institutions like that to promote standard speech).
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I doubt if it's a case of the BBC "encouraging or allowing dialectal grammar", parap. It just seems to me that if a presenter naturally speaks a variety of English which includes some non-standard speech patterns, it wouldn't be surprising if he/she occasionally used those patterns - especially in off-the-cuff speech.
     
    I have an impression that use of this type of construction by people who normally use pretty standard English and in more contexts (including written) has noticeably increased in the last few (8-12) years.

    I don't have a television set, so can't comment on that.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks, Thomas.

    I don't object to "I am seated" either, because "seated" is not a verb, but an adjective.
    I worry about this Parap, because seated seems to me as much a verb as sat.

    Seated is the past participle of to seat, while sat is the past participle of to sit. (My thanks to Loob for pointing out my previous error)

    I'm not sure that this gets us quite round all our grammatical problems with the difference between I was sat and I was seated, however. Of course the obvious difference between to sit and to seat is that the first is intransitive and the second transitive. But seated doesn't have a very transitive feel in I was seated, to my ear: it doesn't mean necessarily I had been seated.

    I'm saying I don't think the grammatical case against I was sat has been made at all clearly yet in this thread.
     

    Sarahx

    New Member
    English
    I say 'I was sat,' sometimes without thinking. It's not a big deal, people don't even notice it.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree with Sarahx, and it's certainly not new. I suspect it has more recently come to notice because of the relatively recent influx of regional-speaking TV journalists, announcers and narrators (to the extent that you rarely hear anything other than regional voices in these spheres).

    There is a discussion of the topic usage on the BBC web site, appropriately:
    So what’s going on here? I was sat waiting for an hour uses the simple past of be and the past participle of the second verb sit, and finally waiting is in the progressive verb form. This pattern, which almost looks like the passive voice, is used to introduce anecdotes and stories, almost as a kind of ‘scene-setting’ device. It also sometimes suggests that the person was forced to do something against their will, which is similar to the function of the passive. This phrase is likely to be used when we’re complaining about something.
    The writer describes it as a spoken ‘non-standard grammatical form’.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I have the same impression as Magda, that it's definitely on the increase ... and perhaps even spreading from its usual strongholds (like where I'm sat now) to regions where it's not erm native.

    (I'd add to what Loob said, that the days when BBC staff were rigorously trained [or 'browbeaten'] into speaking only Standard English in RP are looooong gone.)
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    I worry about this Parap, because seated seems to me as much a verb as sat.

    Seated is the past participle of to seat, while sat is the past participle of to sit. (My thanks to Loob for pointing out my previous error)

    I'm not sure that this gets us quite round all our grammatical problems with the difference between I was sat and I was seated, however. Of course the obvious difference between to sit and to seat is that the first is intransitive and the second transitive. But seated doesn't have a very transitive feel in I was seated, to my ear: it doesn't mean necessarily I had been seated.

    I'm saying I don't think the grammatical case against I was sat has been made at all clearly yet in this thread.
    Have you considered the difference between active and passive constructions? "sat" being active, and "seated" being passive?

    "I have seated myself," thus "I am seated."

    Verbs like "sit" and "stand" are a little tough to grasp, I guess, and perhaps that's also why they are the only verbs so far that I'm aware of that "allow" constructions like "I am sat/stood" in dialects. Perhaps you've heard other variations like "I am listened" or "I am went" (though "I'm gone" is perfectly acceptable), but I haven't.
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    I have the same impression as Magda, that it's definitely on the increase ...
    Being on the increase.. that's what I'm noticing too, which is why I was wondering how widespread it has become. When I told a native speaker (highly educated too!) last year that "I was sat" should be "I was sitting," he was surprised!
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    When I told a native speaker (highly educated too!) last year that "I was sat" should be "I was sitting," he was surprised!
    I'm not surprised he was surprised you corrected him.

    I am surprised he didn't react with something stronger than surprise:eek:

    Verbs like "sit" and "stand" are a little tough to grasp, I guess, and perhaps that's also why they are the only verbs so far that I'm aware of that "allow" constructions like "I am sat/stood" in dialects. Perhaps you've heard other variations like "I am listened" or "I am went" (though "I'm gone" is perfectly acceptable), but I haven't.
    You've lost me here!

    There's no particular reason why "I am sitting/standing" should be standard and "I am sat/stood" should be non-standard - that's just the way things have panned out, and it could be different in a hundred years if Magda and ewie are right.

    There's certainly nothing wrong with "I am + past participle" combinations like "I am listened to" (passive) and "I am gone" (older version of present perfect) ...
     

    katie_here

    Senior Member
    England/English
    For me, I can't see what it wrong with it.

    "I am stood with my friend"

    actually, now I can, now I've written it down, but actually hearing the words, didn't sound wrong at all.

    I've noticed lately that news readers are using "stock sentences" especially one's they've heard before. I remember George Bush in a speech saying "Let's be clear about this" and now I hear it all the time from news readers when they want to explain something to us.

    Maybe it's the avid use of these statements that are making them sound okay, and thus acceptable.
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    I'm not surprised he was surprised you corrected him.

    I am surprised he didn't react with something stronger than surprise:eek:
    You're not surprised that he didn't know that "I was sitting" is the standard form?

    You've lost me here!

    There's no particular reason why "I am sitting/standing" should be standard and "I am sat/stood" should be non-standard - that's just the way things have panned out, and it could be different in a hundred years if Magda and ewie are right.

    There's certainly nothing wrong with "I am + past participle" combinations like "I am listened to" (passive) and "I am gone" (older version of present perfect) ...
    "I am listened to" is something completely different from "I am listened" to mean "I am listening."
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Let's start again from the beginning, parap.

    There's no particular reason why "I'm sat/stood" should be non-standard, and "I'm sitting/standing" should be standard.

    That just happens to be the case.

    Magda and ewie think that "I'm sat/stood" is gaining ground. I'm not so sure: I just think regional varieties are now more acceptable/ more popular, and therefore more frequently encountered.

    But if Magda and ewie are right, standard BrE, a hundred years from now, will say "sat" and "stood".
     

    Macunaíma

    Senior Member
    português, Brasil
    I've been following this discussion and although I'm not qualified to add anything substantial, I thought it might be relevant to say that, from my point of view, the construction "I'm sat/stood" makes a lot of sense. In fact, in my language, we also use a construction with the past participle for "I'm sitting". I even found it strange at first, when I started studying English, that the present continuous was used instead, and it took me a while to get used to the fact that "to sit" was not the action of sitting down but rather the state of being seated, so "I'm sitting" sounded to me like the person kept sitting down and then getting up and then sitting down again :) From an outsider's standpoint, "I'm sat", however strange it may sound to native speakers who are not used to it, is perfectly logical. To me it's like a snapshot of my situation of being sitting (does this make any sense?)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Your comment makes enormous sense, Macunaíma.

    I think standard English is the odd-one-out in insisting on a present participle in this construction.

    Non-standard "sat/stood" is much closer to the norm in other European languages...
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Let's start again from the beginning, parap.

    There's no particular reason why "I'm sat/stood" should be non-standard, and "I'm sitting/standing" should be standard.
    Indeed, it just happens to be the case, which is why I was surprised that that person didn't know that "I'm sitting" is the accepted standard form. He thought that "I'm sat" (or "we were sat" as he said it) is "grammatically correct" in the traditional, prescriptive sense.
    "I sit" is the common form in Germanic languages for "I'm sitting" and "I sat" for "I was sitting." Prescriptive, traditional, standard English uses the present simple "I sit" to mean a regular habit, such as "I always sit in the cateen to eat" or "Every morning I stand here for five minutes." The present continuous "I am going," on the other hand, is used for activities happening "right now." Thus: "I'm driving" means "I'm in the act of driving right now." The same applies to "I'm sitting." "I'm sat" simply makes no sense in this prescriptive English grammar, among other things because it invokes a passive construction for a verb that in no language can logically be transitive (e.g. "I'm sitting a tea" or "I stood Jane").

    But there are some interesting exceptions, such as "I'm done" and "I'm gone," but in prescriptive grammars even these are questionable.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    "I'm sat" simply makes no sense in this prescriptive English grammar, among other things because it invokes a passive construction for a verb that in no language can logically be transitive (e.g. "I'm sitting a tea" or "I stood Jane").
    My particular variety of English doesn't use "I'm sat". But I don't see why "it makes no sense":confused:
     
    I always have a feeling that I am sat has a slightly theatrical feel to it. It's almost like if there is more to it than being in the state of sitting, it's almost like it is, actually, a state of having been seated: a more portentous, solid state, perhaps awaiting something, being ready for an event or a tale to unfold.

    I was sat on the sofa.... and I was sitting on the sofa... to me these would be opening lines of different stories.

    Or something.

    These constructions also seem to invite location. So I was standing. - OK on its own. But I was stood there.

    Now, natives, am I - most likely, unfortunatley - imagining things? The test case would be to see whether those who say I was sat also use the I was sitting form, at all?
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    I've been following this discussion and although I'm not qualified to add anything substantial, I thought it might be relevant to say that, from my point of view, the construction "I'm sat/stood" makes a lot of sense. In fact, in my language, we also use a construction with the past participle for "I'm sitting". I even found it strange at first, when I started studying English, that the present continuous was used instead, and it took me a while to get used to the fact that "to sit" was not the action of sitting down but rather the state of being seated, so "I'm sitting" sounded to me like the person kept sitting down and then getting up and then sitting down again :) From an outsider's standpoint, "I'm sat", however strange it may sound to native speakers who are not used to it, is perfectly logical. To me it's like a snapshot of my situation of being sitting (does this make any sense?)
    It's not that strange in English. The difference between sit and seat is the same as that between lie and lay.

    You can seat something (and thus be seated), but you can't sit something. You also can't simply seat, which is why the construction "I'm seating" is considered incorrect in prescriptive English grammar (I feel that I need to emphasize the prescriptive part, because I'm seemingly in the company of descriptive linguists :) -- I'm neither, for the record, although I see nothing wrong with prescribing language if it helps communication).

    The same goes for lie and lay. You can lie down, but you can't lie a book on a table. To do that, you'll have to lay it. You could be lying in bed, but you couldn't be laying there.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It's not that strange in English. The difference between sit and seat is the same as that between lie and lay.
    I'm not at all sure of this, parap.

    The difference between lie and lay is the same as the difference between intransitive "fall" and transitive ""fell".

    I don't see how this has any bearing on the distinction between "I'm sat" and "I'm sitting".
     

    icecreamsoldier

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    I worry about this Parap, because seated seems to me as much a verb as sat.
    Although its form is the same as the past participle of seat, its function is that of an adjective, as can be seen by substitution:
    I was seated
    I was upset
    I was happy
    but substituting another past participle: *I was laughed
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    My particular variety of English doesn't use "I'm sat". But I don't see why "it makes no sense":confused:
    It makes no sense because "I'm sat" invokes a passive construction. It basically says: "I'm a passive construction, and therefore I'm a transitive verb."

    Passive constructions can only be formed with transitive verbs, and transitive verbs are verbs that need an object. In passive constructions, the object of the active construction becomes the subject of the sentence:

    Active: "John robbed Jim"
    Passive: "Jim was robbed (by John)"

    Active: "I keep the butter in the fridge"
    Passive: "The butter is kept in the fridge (by me)"

    Active: "The shopkeeper is selling books"
    Passive: "Books are being sold (by the shopkeeper)"

    Active: "I was buying books"
    Passive: "Books were being bought (by me)"

    Now take a look at an intransitive verb like "sit, stand, listen."

    "I am sat" is equivalent to "the butter is kept" above. From "the butter is kept" we can infer a subject:

    Passive: "The butter is kept (by someone)"
    Active: "Someone keeps the butter"

    But how do you explain "I'm sat"? Who's the inferred subject?

    Passive: "I am sat (by someone)"
    Active: "Someone sits me"

    The latter makes no sense, because you can't sit something, and therefore you can also not be sat by someone. And this goes for all studied languages. In no language is it logically possible to sit or stand something.
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    I'm not at all sure of this, parap.

    The difference between lie and lay is the same as the difference between intransitive "fall" and transitive ""fell".
    Do you mean "fell" as in "fell a tree"? And do you mean "fall" as in "I'm falling down"? If so, then that's not what I mean.

    lie/lay form a set, because they essentially mean the same thing, except that one is intransitive (lie) and the other is transitive (lay).

    The same goes for sit/seat. "Sit" is the intransitive form of the transitive "seat." They essentially mean the same thing, but are not used in the same way. That's the bearing it has on the difference between "I'm sitting" and "I'm seated."
     

    Macunaíma

    Senior Member
    português, Brasil
    The difference between "I was sat" and "I was sitting" is not the same as that between lie and lay. Lie is an intransitive verb (the person/agent who performs the action is the same who suffers it) and lay a transitive verb (the action of the verb transfers to another individual/thing). You may be mixing up "I was sat" with "I was seated" (which reads "somebody had me sit down/ arranged that I sat down"). As I understand it, the difference between "I'm sat" and "I'm sitting" is that in the former there's an implication that the action is completed and the later suggests that it is prolonged in time, it's a continuous action. As I said, in my language (I know we are not discussing Portuguese, I'm just drawing a parallel) the verb "to sit" (sentar-se) describes only the action of sitting down, the precise moment when one's buttocks hit the chair :)D). Once the 'landing process' is over, you are sat (past participle). If I used the present continuous, that would mean that my buttocks are still 'travelling towards the chair' or that I keep sitting down, standing up and sitting down again. That's why I see logic in the construction "I'm sat" -here "to sit" describes the movement, like the phrasal form "sit down", rather than someone's being in a sitting position; it's as though the person were saying "I am/have sat down".

    But, mind you, I'm not trying to prove a point or say what is right and what is wrong. I'm just, ehm, butting in. This thread is just interesting!
     

    icecreamsoldier

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    To me, sitting and seated are both adjectives here, synonyms describing the state of being on a chair in a sitting/seated posture. By contrast, sat is always a verb and never an adjective: *He was in a sat posture.
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    To me, sitting and seated are both adjectives here, synonyms describing the state of being on a chair in a sitting/seated posture. By contrast, sat is always a verb and never an adjective: *He was in a sat posture.
    My first impulse was to assume that "seated" was an adjective. I later checked with the Oxford English Dictionary and it lists "I am seated" as a passive construction--a construction that has become so standardized that its active counterpart is rarely, or never, used:

    Passive: "I am seated (by me)"
    Active: "I seat myself"

    "sitting" is definitely not an adjective. It's an -ing participle that always follows the auxiliary "to be" in the present and past continuous.
     

    egremoq

    Senior Member
    England / English
    It makes no sense because "I'm sat" invokes a passive construction. It basically says: "I'm a passive construction, and therefore I'm a transitive verb."


    But how do you explain "I'm sat"? Who's the inferred subject?

    Passive: "I am sat (by someone)"
    Active: "Someone sits me"

    The latter makes no sense, because you can't sit something, and therefore you can also not be sat by someone. And this goes for all studied languages. In no language is it logically possible to sit or stand something.
    Hm. If I say "he was crouched next to the chair" who is the inferred subject of the intransitive verb crouch?
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Hm. If I say "he was crouched next to the chair" who is the inferred subject of the intransitive verb crouch?
    "He was crouched" is not a passive construction. ;) "Crouched," according to the OED, is an adjective here. To make it a verb, the "correct" form would be "he crouched next to the chair" or "he was crouching next to the chair."
     

    icecreamsoldier

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    "sitting" is definitely not an adjective. It's an -ing participle that always follows the auxiliary "to be" in the present and past continuous.
    Are you saying that "A sitting posture" and "a sitting position" are ungrammatical? Surely it is not a posture or a position who are sitting. Therefore sitting must be an adjective (in this case, and also - in one interpretation at least - describing the state of sitting/being seated in "We were sitting").
     

    Macunaíma

    Senior Member
    português, Brasil
    I never claimed it was. ;) I said that the set sit/seat is similar to lie/lay.
    OK, sorry. I confess to being a little confused and I'm struggling to keep up because I like the thread you started (otherwise I would simply ignore it).

    My argument is that it's not about transitiveness or intransitiveness, but what the verb actually describes: the sitting down or the being in a sitting position. Egremoq example is a very good one: in "I'm crouched" and "I'm squatted", both verbs describes the action of getting into that position, so once you are positioned that way, the action is over and you can use a past participle. If it described the state of being crouched, as seems to be the case with the standard usage of the verb "to sit", then the correct would be "I'm crouching". Maybe people adopted this usage with "to sit" by analogy.

    Just a guess. I'm far from being an expert in English grammar -or any grammar for that matter.

    EDIT: the difference between participles and adjectives is soooo tenuous that it could take us forever to sort it out. Most participles are also adjectives and many adjectives that apparently are only adjectives are participles in their origin (like 'decadent', for example)
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Are you saying that "A sitting posture" and "a sitting position" are ungrammatical? Surely it is not a posture or a position who are sitting. Therefore sitting must be an adjective (in this case, and also - in one interpretation at least - describing the state of sitting/being seated in "We were sitting").
    "a sitting position" and "we were sitting" are not the same.

    "sitting" in "a sitting position" is an adjective.

    "sitting" in "we were sitting" is an -ing participle that follows the auxiliary "were" in a past continuous construction. It's the same as "I was driving to work yesterday when I received an important phonecall" and "Stop disturbing me! I'm trying to read."
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    OK, sorry. I confess to being a little confused and I'm struggling to keep up because I like the thread you started (otherwise I would simply ignore it).
    No problemo. :)

    My argument is that it's not about transitiveness or intransitiveness, but what the verb actually describes: the sitting down or the being in a sitting position. Egremoq example is a very good one: in "I'm crouched" and "I'm squatted", both verbs describes the action of getting into that position, so once you are positioned that way, the action is over and you can use a past participle. If it described the state of being crouched, as seems to be the case with the standard usage of the verb "to sit", then the correct would be "I'm crouching". Maybe people adopted this usage with "to sit" by analogy.

    Just a guess. I'm far from being an expert in English grammar -or any grammar for that matter.

    EDIT: the difference between past participles and adjectives is soooo tenuous that it could take us forever to sort it out. Most participles are also adjectives and many adjectives that apparently are only adjectives are participles in their origin (like 'decadent', for example)
    You could be right. Perhaps "sat" is slowly, but surely, becoming an adjective..
     

    egremoq

    Senior Member
    England / English
    "He was crouched" is not a passive construction. ;) "Crouched," according to the OED, is an adjective here. To make it a verb, the "correct" form would be "he crouched next to the chair" or "he was crouching next to the chair."
    ok, but I suppose the moral is that crouched started life as a past participle and evolved into an adjective through usage (there being no difference between I was crouching and I was crouched), so no real reason why sit and stand shouldn't follow suit?
     

    icecreamsoldier

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    Ok I see your point about sitting, but regarding seated:
    My first impulse was to assume that "seated" was an adjective. I later checked with the Oxford English Dictionary and it lists "I am seated" as a passive construction--a construction that has become so standardized that its active counterpoint is rarely, or never, used:

    Passive: "I am seated (by me)"
    Active: "I seat myself"
    I guess there is a sort of reflexivity involved with "seated" in some cases such as:
    Please be seated.
    => Please sit (yourself/yourselves) down.

    But it could also be argued that, as the passive construction is so prevalent in today's English, we have come to view it as an adjective rather than a verb. Thus "we were seated" to me is ambiguous, and unless an agent were specified, I would assume it to be an SVC structure describing their state, as there is no action involved - they are simply there, having already sat down.
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    ok, but I suppose the moral is that crouched started life as a past participle and evolved into an adjective through usage (there being no difference between I was crouching and I was crouched), so no real reason why sit and stand shouldn't follow suit?
    There is no real reason, indeed, and perhaps that is why UK English is apparently heading into that direction.
     

    dakel

    Senior Member
    USA- English
    There seems to be confusion as to past participles, past tense, and present participles:

    infinitive verb: to sit
    past tense: I sat.
    past participle: I have sat
    present participle: I am sitting.
    seated: an adjective!!! Not a participle I suppose, and not a tense. "The man was seated on the chair."

    I know I'm American, =) but from where I stand, "I am stood" and "we were sat" is grammaticaly incorrect or non-standard English. The correct forms are standing/seated/sitting for these constructions.

    This is the same as the words "drunken" and "drunk", which also cause confusion.
    Today I drink, yesterday I drank, I have drunk, The man was drunken!!
    Drunken is an adjective- not a past participle, just like seated. Drunk is considered an adjective as well, I guess because it is so conventional. i.e. "Are you drunk?" instead of "Are you drunken?" I guess the conventional uses are what makes language evolve over time.
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Ok I see your point about sitting, but regarding seated:
    I guess there is a sort of reflexivity involved with "seated" in some cases such as:
    Please be seated.
    => Please sit (yourself/yourselves) down.

    But it could also be argued that, as the passive construction is so prevalent in today's English, we have come to view it as an adjective rather than a verb. Thus "we were seated" to me is ambiguous, and unless an agent were specified, I would assume it to be an SVC structure describing their state, as there is no action involved - they are simply there, having already sat down.
    I agree with you. My instinct still says that "seated" in this case is a participial adjective, and we're probably not so wrong about that, since the OED (yup, the OED, once again) lists "seated" as an adjective as well, but used in the sense of "the seated Lady" or "The seated part of the congregation" where it is unambiguously an adjective.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Although its form is the same as the past participle of seat, its function is that of an adjective, as can be seen by substitution:
    I was seated
    I was upset
    I was happy
    but substituting another past participle: *I was laughed
    Of course you've chosen transitive verbs to make your case.

    I was laughed at by the whole committee is fine.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    In no language is it logically possible to sit or stand something.
    Just a small query: what about They stood him against the wall and shot him ... ?

    (I'm afraid I'm totally failing to see in what way any of this actually matters:confused:. Whether we're using past participles, adjectives, present participles, or whatever-you-care-to-call-them, the fact remains that a lot of British folk say we were sat/stood by the door while a lot of others say we were sitting/standing.)

    (BUT: if we're talking 'logic' ~ not that that has anything much to do with anything ~ I'm with Macunaíma: to me sat/stood 'feel' approximately 100% more 'logical' than sitting/standing.)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    [...] In no language is it logically possible to sit or stand something.
    Three points, Parap:
    1. This is an English only forum. We aren't concerned with other languages here. I'm also made to wonder when people say things like this if they've looked at all other languages. There's also the consideration that as the verbs to sit or stand don't occur in other languages, how can one say they can't be used like this? This looks like a quibble, but are you aware of the ways in which Mongolian has been changing in its use of verbs detailing various degrees of recumbance recently?
    2. Logical possibility is not a matter of linguistic practice; it's concerned with an incompatible juxtaposition of ideas, like falling upwards.
    3. I think what you are saying is that to sit and to stand cannot in English be used transitively - a view which has been attacked by Ewie in the first line of his latest post.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    3. I think what you are saying is that to sit and to stand cannot in English be used transitively - a view which has been attacked by Ewie in the first line of his latest post.
    Well, it was more query than attack, TT;)
    Incidentally, while we're on the subject: I would also say I sat him down and explained the facts of life ~ I wouldn't dream of saying I seated him and [...] or I made him sit down and [...] or anything else.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, it was more query than attack, TT;)
    Incidentally, while we're on the subject: I would also say I sat him down and explained the facts of life ~ I wouldn't dream of saying I seated him and [...] or I made him sit down and [...] or anything else.
    I wonder if you share my view that, sticking to a consideration of sitting, rather than standing:

    1. We have two verbs in English, one usually transitive, to seat, and the other usually intranistive, to sit.

    2. In certain, very particular, circumstances, to sit can be used transitively. I can't think of ways in which to seat can be used intransitively.

    3. The reason why 'he was sat' is disliked is that it is giving the intransitive verb an unacceptable (to some people) transitive inflection - only transitive verbs can be used in passive constructions.

    4. I'm not clear why this transitive use of sit should be unacceptable, while others aren't.

    5. The people who don't object to 'he was sat' are saying that we aren't concerned here with a passive construction, but that the past participle, sat, has acquired adjectival status to mean seated. The apparent passive has evaporated somehow, perhaps through usage; I suppose the objectors would say it had been lost either through laziness or lax speech.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    1: :tick::tick:. 2: :tick:. 3: :tick:. 4: Nor me. 5: Yes, I suppose that is what I'm saying, TT (thanks for putting it into words for me :D)
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Three points, Parap:
    1. This is an English only forum. We aren't concerned with other languages here. I'm also made to wonder when people say things like this if they've looked at all other languages. There's also the consideration that as the verbs to sit or stand don't occur in other languages, how can one say they can't be used like this? This looks like a quibble, but are you aware of the ways in which Mongolian has been changing in its use of verbs detailing various degrees of recumbance recently?
    I may not have studied all other languages personally, but many other comparative linguists have. And I don't see what is wrong with bringing this fact up to back up a construction. English is not half as isolated as you perhaps would like to think.

    2. Logical possibility is not a matter of linguistic practice; it's concerned with an incompatible juxtaposition of ideas, like falling upwards.
    Without some degree of logic, we wouldn't be able to communicate. ;)

    3. I think what you are saying is that to sit and to stand cannot in English be used transitively - a view which has been attacked by Ewie in the first line of his latest post.
    Ewie didn't attack much, since he is talking about the phrasal verb "stand against," which is something completely different from simply "stand." The only way to disagree here is to claim that sentences like "Jane stood Jim" and "Jane stood a cup of tea" make sense.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    [...]In certain, very particular, circumstances, to sit can be used transitively.[...]
    I'm a little confused here by the "very particular circumstances".

    1. He sat me down :tick:
    2. I was sat down :tick:


    Thomas, are you talking about sit or about sit down?
    My confusion comes from the fact that ewie used sit down in post #46.

    Surely, sit down doesn't need any particular circumstance to be used transitively. Right?

    Therefore, are you saying that
    - one can actually sit (not down) someone else?
    - and that it means something different from "sit someone down"?

    Or is this particular "sit" simply an occasional substitute for "sit down"?
     
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