Verbs SIT and SET

The difference between Sit and Set.

SIT: To rest with the body supported from the waist down.
SET: To put or place in a certain location or position.

The easiest way to remember this basic difference is that you sit
yourself down, but you set something else (an object) down.

Example: I will sit here on this bench and I will set my books beside me.

Look at the Sit and Set examples that follow:

SIT – to have the weight of one’s body supported by the buttocks, not the feet.
He sits in the same chair each day.
He sat in that chair yesterday.
He has been sitting in the chair for a long time.
He was sitting there the last time I saw him.
SET – to put, lay, or stand something (an object) in a specified place or position.
She sets her books on her desk at school.
She set her books on that desk yesterday.
She has set her books on the desk 200 times.
She still sets her books on the desk even now.
  • SIT is an action that means resting in one place. I sit. You are sitting. They sat. We were sitting. These sentences are complete. Words can be added to say where, when, how or why the person is sitting, but they are not needed to form a complete sentence.
  • SET is an action that is done to something else. She is setting the table. He set the alarm clock last night. They set the shopping down in the kitchen. I set the suitcase on the floor. These sentences need an object to complete them.

      NOTE – There are a couple of exceptions:

  • At nightfall (dusk) we say: “The sun is setting.”
  • When concrete, glue, sauces or other substances harden, we say, “The glue has set.”
  • In these special cases, SET acts like SIT and doesn’t take an object.

    Simple I sit I sat I will sit
    Continuous I am sitting I was sitting I will be sitting
    Perfect I have sat I had sat I will have sat
    Perfect Continuous I have been sitting I had been sitting I will have been sitting
    Conditional I would sit I would have sat
    Conditional Continuous I would be sitting I would have been sitting


    Simple I set I set I will set
    Continuous I am setting I was setting I will be setting
    Perfect I have set I had set I will have set
    Perfect Continuous I have been setting I had been setting I will have been setting
    Conditional I would set I would have set
    Conditional Continuous I would be setting I would have been setting


Related Content

Sit and Set – Get It Write Online.
Sit and Set – Grammar Quizzes

Why not get a full course of English lessons in PDF eBook format?

There are 12 lessons in each booklet, (every lesson has exercises with answers).

Sign up for your 'How to teach English' Guide
and claim your first eBook FREE!