we were sat in this nice restaurant

Paulfromitaly

MODerator
Italian
Hello,

An English girl is telling her lover about a dream she had.

I dreamt we went out for a meal and we were sat in this nice restaurant and your hand was being rather naughty under the table..

Is "we were sat " correct?
Wouldn't it be more correct and natural to say "we were sitting" ?

Cheers.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    There is a difference between "correct" and "natural" in this case.

    You are right from a pure standard grammar point of view. On the other hand, lots of people I know use this construction to recount a story, so it seems natural enough in informal spoken contexts.

    It could be classed as a dialect variation, but I think it is more a stylistic feature for story telling in different parts of the country.
     
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    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    You are right from a pure standard grammar point of view. On the other hand, lots of people I know use this construction to recount a story, so it seems natural enough in informal spoken contexts.

    It could be classed as a dialect variation, but I think it is more a stylistic feature for story telling in differnet parts of the country.
    Very interesting..
    Do you mean it's fine as long as you're recounting a story, but it could sound not very correct in another context?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Very interesting..
    Do you mean it's fine as long as you're recounting a story, but it could sound not very correct in another context?
    Oops, sorry about my typos.

    It is one of those things that SOME people say, but not something that everyone would say. There are certainly people in here who would never say it, and would class it as "wrong" even in the context you've heard it in.


    As a non-native speaker you are usually best sticking to the "rules", and avoiding it, but recognise that you might hear people say it, as you did!
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello Paul. Since the last time this subject came up on the forum (please don't ask me to look for previous threads: no idea), I've actually been listening out for this kind of construction, in life, on the radio, on the tv. I haven't bothered writing anything down because it's just been a general listening exercise, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
    I can report that people from all over the UK, all ages, all 'levels of educatedness', in short everyone does it. But I bet if you asked all those herds of people I've heard saying it, a huge proportion would say, "No, you must have misheard ~ I would never say that."
    ~ewie, listening
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    [...]
    I can report that people from all over the UK, all ages, all 'levels of educatedness', in short everyone does it. But I bet if you asked all those herds of people I've heard saying it, a huge proportion would say, "No, you must have misheard ~ I would never say that."
    ~ewie, listening
    I missed this, Mr E, all those years ago.

    There are many people who do it, I agree, and if that is what you meant when you say that everyone does it, I agree too, obviously.

    But I and many people I know don't do it, and that means that we can't say that everyone does it.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I'm one of those people who never says "I was sat /stood + ing" but I have come across it a lot of late. It's odd, years ago I was convinced it was a northern English thing but I now think it was probably just an impression I was under.

    Grammar and usage...
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    'Course, when I say 'everyone' I don't mean 'every single individual person': I mean 'every stratum (etc.)' of British society.
    Twelve years later this is still one of the things I listen out for, and, since I started reading voluminous quantities of short stories (approx. 19,500 since 01/01/10), it's a thing I always pick up on in [British] writing too ...
    ... and I'm now prepared to stick my neck out and say that it's well on the way to becoming the 'standard' version in BrE.

    EDIT: Cross-posted with the on-topic part of Suze's post, which was thrown out with the bathwater :cool:
     
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