How to Use Set and Sit Correctly

To "set the table" is one thing; to "sit at the table" is quite another. Clear writing comes from understanding the language you use. "Set" and "sit" sound alike and have similar meanings but are not interchangeable. Learning the function of each verb can alleviate frustration and ensure that you write what you mean.

To Set
A book has been set on the table.

"Set" is a transitive verb, requiring a direct object. The direct object receives the action. In the example, "Set the book down," the book is the direct object. With the sentence, "Set your glasses there," glasses is the object that is put down. Use the verb "set" when you want to put an object down -- so that you can move away from it. Think about holding a book. When you "set" the book down, you can freely walk away from it.

To Sit
A dog is sitting on the bed.

Sit indicates physical movement of a living object planting its lower half and keeping the upper at attention. For example, a dog can "sit down" or you can "sit on a chair." As an intransitive verb, sit does not have a direct object. Either a preposition or a place follows the verb, such as, "Sit there," or "I will sit down."

This verb changes form depending on tense. For past tense, use "sat," as in: "I sat in the back row." With present and future tenses, use "sit," such as in the sentence, "I want to sit in the back."

About the Author

A product of the Montana upbringing, Annie Sullivan has written on education since 2007. However, her first publications appeared in a local newspaper in 2004. Sullivan received her educator license in 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Montana.

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