Editor Afloat

Dedicated to Sticklers everywhere!

To Sit or to Set. (This one’s easy!)

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If you were able to conquer ‘lie’ and ‘lay’, then the verbs ‘to sit’ and ‘to set’ are fairly simple to use.

The intransitive verb sit means to assume or be in a position. It never takes an object to complete the meaning. So: “Today I sit; yesterday I sat; I have sat; I am sitting.”

The transitive verb set means to place or put. It needs an object to complete the sentence. “Today I set the book on the table; yesterday I’m sure I set the paper there too; I have set my pens on the table many times; I am setting the ink there now.”

Just like with lie and lay, you can use the same test word ‘place’ to see if you need to use sit or set. You can’t say, “My dog placed on his bed all morning.” So, the proper sentence would be, “My dog sat on his bed all morning.” You would say though, “I set his water bowl next to him.”

      TO SIT
      present tense ~ sit
      past tense ~ sat
      past participle ~ sat
      present participle ~ sitting
      TO SET
      present tense ~ set
      past tense ~ set
      past participle ~ set
      present participle ~ setting

See? I told you that was easy!


Author: The Editor Afloat

The Editor Afloat provides proofreading and editing services for the written word. The name comes from the NCIS designation for a Special Agent assigned to a vessel, "Agent Afloat". I live on-board and work from my boat. That makes me an Editor Afloat!

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