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Seat vs. Sit: Can They Be Interchanged?

Seat vs. Sit: Can They Be Interchanged?

English, in my opinion, is a funny language. There are so many grammatical rules, and ways of pronunciation, but every so often, they make exceptions!

Some words sound similar or the same, but they mean completely different things. Sometimes words with different definitions are spelled the same!

The variation between the long “e” and the short “i” is subtle, but it does make a huge difference!

Difference in pronunciation

As mentioned above, the long “e” and short “i” isn’t noticeable until you’ve had a series of words said to you in sequence.

Here are a few words that might sound similar, but you can hear that faint difference in sound.

Long “e” Short “i”
Team Tim
Deal Dill
Ream Rim
Meek Mick
These This
Feet Fit
Bean Bin
Seat Sit

For more examples, and to hear these words pronounced correctly, watch this helpful video below.

ESL Phonics Lesson: "Long e" vs. "Short i"

Differences in definition

The word seat and sit are related but they mean different things, despite sounding slightly similar.

Let’s take a look at the different definitions of the word SEAT, and SIT.

Seat as a noun

First of all, the word SEAT as a noun refers to something that you sit on, like a chair or a sofa.

For instance, if we use it in a sentence, we can say “Herman Miller sells all kinds of seats for the office”.

To refer to a status or an official position, you can also make use of this word. You might hear someone say “Congratulations! I heard your father finally won a seat in parliament!”

It can also specify the part of clothing or furniture. In a sentence: “He stained the seat of his jeans when he sat on the ground”.

When referring to furniture, you can also say “The seat of the office chair was upholstered with real leather”.

You can also use this word to refer to your bottom or your rear end! Once, I heard someone say “My seat felt very comfortable after I changed the cushions of my chair.”

It can also talk about the base of important activities. For example, “Amazingly, the seat of the revolution was somewhere in the countryside, not in a big city!”

Finally, it can also refer to how someone sits while riding a horse. If you want to use it in a sentence, you can say “For a beginner in horseback riding, her seat is impressive.”

Seat as a verb

On the other hand, the word seat can also be used VERB! Seat, as a verb, refers to the act of someone sitting.

Used in a sentence, “I am in the cinema, seated on the third row.”

Another meaning is to give people places to sit. If you want to use this, you can say “The teacher seated her at the front because she had poor eyesight.”

The third meaning is to tell other people to sit. For instance, when you go to a fancy restaurant, the waiter can tell you, “We’ll have you seated by a window for a nice view.”

You can also use this word when you’re assigning seats, “Part of her job was to seat the guests for the reception.”

For more definitions, you can check out this video below!

Seat | Meaning of seat

Definition of sit

The word sit is a verb, and it can be used with or without an object.

First, it can be used to refer to taking a seat. If used without an object you can say the following sentence: “I want to sit, we’ve been walking for so long!”

When you want to use it with an object, you can use it like this “The teacher sat her away from her friends because they made too much noise.”

Another meaning of “sit” is to fit. So you can tell a person that her new blouse sits well.

It doesn’t even have to be about clothes! If you notice that your friend has redecorated, you can compliment them like this, “This rug sits nicely in your living room”.

This might be informal, but the term “sit” is also a shortened or “slang” term for babysit.

To use it in a sentence: “I will be sitting for Doctor Smith’s kids over the weekend.”

When hens or other egg-laying animals cover and warm their eggs, the term “sit” is also used. “I used to eagerly watch my grandparent’s hens sit on their eggs.”

Just like the word “seat”, sit can mean a lot of things, too! So if I missed anything, you can check it out here.

Sit | Meaning of sit

Can SEAT and SIT be interchanged?

Some people ask if the words SEAT and SIT can be used interchangeably since the former is also a verb.

While these are both action words, the way you use them in a sentence should follow correct grammar.

Here are two examples:

“I sit in the front row so I can pay attention.”

“I am seated in the front row so I can pay attention.”

The first sentence uses the word SIT as a verb, while the second example uses a verb phrase. This verb phrase is a combination of a form of a “be verb” + the past participle form of “seat”.


When you ask someone for the difference between SEAT and SIT, they can give you the most common answer: SEAT is a noun referring to a chair, and SIT is the action of taking a seat.

But, for a more detailed differentiation, these two words are pronounced differently, and they have multiple varying definitions!

“Seat” is pronounced with a long “e”, and “sit” is pronounced with a short “i”.

Besides, SEAT has numerous meanings as a noun or as a verb, while SIT only has different verb definitions.

Steve Puyear

Sunday 2nd of May 2021

I believe that "sit" is always intransitive. The aforementioned example is incorrect. It should instead read: " The teacher seated her away...".