Sit, Set: Setting the Record Straight

You’re not really supposed to sit something on a table, and you’re not supposed to set awhile when you need to rest.  It’s not the actions to which I object; it’s the verbs used to do them.

To set means to put or to place something somewhere, as in the following:

  • Every morning, she sets her briefcase next to her desk.
  • Yesterday, he set the pearl necklace on the bed, where she’d see it.
  • They are going to set his book in the bookstore window.

You need an object, whether it’s a key, a briefcase, or a cow, after the word set, and notice that in all three examples, you could replace the word set with the words put or place, as in Every morning, she places her briefcase next to her desk. That’s not the case for sit.


To sit means to be seated, as in the following:

  • Yesterday, they sat in the park for a while.
  • Don’t sit so close to the television.
  • We’re going to sit at the table while we dine.


Sherry’s Grammar List

Paul’s Language Posts

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