Understanding English Grammar – phrasal verbs ‘sit’

Now let’s look at the verb ‘to sit’. Here are some common expressions using this verb combined with particles:

‘to sit around’ means to spend time doing very little.

  • They just sit around and do nothing all day.
  • We sat around in the hotel until it stopped raining.

‘to sit back’ means to wait for something to happen while deliberately not being involved.

  • She just sat back and waited for us to do everything.
  • You can’t just sit back and expect me to do everything.

‘to sit down’ means to lower your body into a sitting position.

  • We looked for somewhere to sit down.
  • She sat down beside me on the sofa and started talking.

‘to sit in on’ something means to be present during a meeting or event but not participate.

  • He asked me to sit in on the discussion and report back to him.
  • When I was new to the department, I sat in on meetings to learn the procedures.

‘to sit on’ a committee or panel means to be a member.

  • As the representative of the personnel, I sat on the board of directors.
  • He sat on many committees dealing with education.

‘to sit out’ means to be outside rather than inside.

  • While the weather was good, we sat out and had lunch.
  • We went to the pub and sat out at the tables in the garden.

‘to sit out’ something means to wait for it to finish.

  • His injury meant that he had to sit out the rest of the competition.
  • When it started raining, we decided to sit out the storm in the café.

‘to sit over’ someone is to watch them very carefully to check up on them.

  • I sat over him and made sure he took his medicine.
  • She sat over me until I had finished everything.

‘to sit through’ means to remain until something is finished, especially if it is unpleasant.

  • They sat through a very long meeting.
  • We had to sit through a very boring lecture before we could go for a drink.

‘to sit up’ means to not go to bed until it very late.

  • I sat up and waited for him to come home.
  • She sat up all night to finish her project before the deadline.

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23 thoughts on “Understanding English Grammar – phrasal verbs ‘sit’”

  1. I like your grammar posts very much. I can learn a lot from them. I hope I have more much to improve my teaching English. Thanks so much!!!

  2. Hello,
    i am sorry but I have another question..
    In the example about sit aroung is written: “They just sit around and do nothing all day”. Why it is not “doing nothing all day”? I would have written “doing” so I’d love to understand the difference!
    Thank you very much again, again and again!
    Stefania

    1. I don’t see why you think that. We are making a general statement about people’s habits. So the present simple is the right form to use.

      1. So “they were sitting around doing nothing all day” is not correct?..I am confused, because to me it seems an action which has been going on for a long time (all day)..
        Thank you!

        1. You’ve switched your example from the present continuous to the past continuous.

          The past continuous can be used to talk about a long action when contrasted with a short action

          They were sitting around doing nothing when Jack arrived.

          But if we are just talking about an action in the past, we would use the simple form.

          They just sat around doing nothing all day.

    1. I am very very please to have you as my english teacher. you rock there is no one like you . Keep sending me all the goods exercise you have in your brain. thank you so much I ask God to protege you and give you abetter life. Jean C Fequant

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