Past Tense Of Sitting: Sit or Sat? (Pronunciation & Usage)

By Benjamin Essek

What Is The Past Tense Of Sitting?

Get one thing clear first: “sitting” is the present participle form of “sit”. It means that “sit” is the correct base form. And this is an irregular verb, like the verb run and the verb forsake.

So get back to the cornerstone of today’s topic: what is the past tense of sit?

Interestingly, two forms of “sit”, including the simple past and past participle forms, share the same structure as “SAT”. Alter the base form’s middle vowel “I” to “A” for the past tense.

You can spell it S-A-T. 

To see all the sit verb forms, check out this table: 

Basic Form/Derived Form (V1) sit
Present Form/3rd Person/Singular Form (V2) sits
Past Form (V3) sat
Past Participle Form (V4) sat
Present Participle/Gerund (V5) sitting

The video below throws light on the verb’s meanings as well as other forms of it. Take a closer look now! 

English lessons, verb sit – YouTube

How To Pronounce Sit Past Tense Correctly?

Do not underestimate the pronunciation of words in English learning. This is the core part of daily communication. To help you embrace the pronunciation of “sit” and other forms better in both American and British accents, see this table:

Form of word


British English

American English
sit /sɪt/



/sɪts/ /sɪts/
sat(V3) /sæt/



/sæt/ /sæt/
sitting /ˈsɪtɪŋ/


How About The Sit Definition?

Regarding the correct meanings of a particular word, you might as well reach some trustworthy Dictionaries like Longman or Oxford. Here comes the list of definitions and examples for “sit”. Hit the road now!

  1. To be in a chair’s position, etc. in which your body’s upper part is upright and your weight is supported at your back’s bottom.
  • My fellows often sit in the long chairs in the school yards.
  • My fellows sat in the long chairs in the school yards yesterday.
  • My fellows had sat in the long chairs in the school yards for 3 hours.

2. To put somebody in a sitting position.

  • My mother sits my sibling down in front of the door. 
  • My mother sat my sibling down in front of the door. 
  • My mother had sat my sibling down in front of the door since 11 o’ clock. 

3. To stay in a specific place.

  • The scarf sits nicely on his neck.
  • The scarf sat nicely on his neck.
  • The scarf had sat nicely on his neck.

4. To own an official position as a member of something or as something.

  • He sits in many positions in the corporation.
  • He already sat in many positions in the corporation.
  • He had already sat in many positions in the corporation.

5. Take care of kids/children.

  • This is my son’s teacher, she’s sitting my wee boy.
  • This was my son’s teacher, she sat my wee boy.
  • This was my son’s teacher, she had sat my wee boy for a long time.

6. To sit on the back part of the dog’s body with the front legs straight.

  • My pet, Rover, sits on my feet and hears what I whisper. 
  • My pet, Rover, sat on my feet and heard what I whispered. 
  • My pet, Rover, had sat on my feet to hear what I whispered. 

7. To meet to do official business.

  • The legislature sits for over 8 weeks.
  • The legislature sat for over 8 weeks.
  • The legislature had sat for over 8 weeks.

Vocabulary Quiz: A List Of Question Words!

Back again, after knowing how to use sit in past tense, let’s move on to some vocabulary exercises. Get the ball rolling!

  1. Last night, I ………….. on the shore and looked at the sea.

a. sat   b. sits   c. sitting    d. sit

2. Sam ……………. opposite her and accepted a cigarette.

a. sits    b. sit     c. sitting   d. sat

3. He’s got a computer ………… on his desk, but he doesn’t use it.

a. sitting    b. sits   c. sat     d. sit

4. They were preparing children to …………. for the entrance examination.

a. sits   b. sat   c. sit    d. sitting

5. The court will ……… until all the evidence has been heard.

a. sit    b. sits     c. sat   d. sitting


  • A (sat – simple past)
  • A (sat – simple past)
  • A (sitting – present participle)
  • C (sit – bare infinitive)
  • A (sit – bare infinitive, after “will”)


What Is The Past Participle Of Sit? 

The past participle of “sit” is “sat”, identical to its past tense.

Is Sit A Verb?

Yes, it’s an irregular verb. 

How Do You Spell Sit?

It’s straightforward: S-I-T.

What Are Some Idioms Using “Sit”? 

  1. Sit tight: 
  2. To stay where you are rather than moving away or changing position.
  3. To stay in the same situation without changing your mind or taking action.
    • Sit silently by: To do or say nothing to help someone or deal with a difficult situation.
    • Sit in judgment (over/on/upon someone): To determine whether someone’s behavior is wrong or right, notably when you have no right to do this.
  4. Sit on the fence: To avoid influencing or deciding something.
  5. Sit well/easily/comfortably, etc.: To seem suitable, natural, right, suitable, etc. in a particular case or place.
  6. Sit bolt upright: To sit with your back straight.
  7. Sit at someone’s feet: To admire somebody much, notably someone from whom you try to learn.
  8. Sit on your laurels: To be satisfied with what you have gained.
  9. Be sitting pretty: To be in great condition, notably when others aren’t.

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