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    #1

    Question What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    They are sitting on the sofa. (they are doing it right now)


    They were sitting on the sofa.
    (they were doing it at some point in the past, they may still be sitting on that sofa right now; it is impossible to determine the current situation base on this example)


    They sat on the sofa. (they are not doing it any more!, they are for instance standing, but not sitting).

    Is my understanding correct? I am especially interested in the last example?



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    #2

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    Welcome to the forum, XomosX.

    'They sat on the sofa' describes their actual movement from a standing position to a seated one.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 25-Sep-2015 at 18:34.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    It could also be used to describe a seated position while something else happened.

    He sat on the sofa throughout the long film.
    She sat on the sofa while the cat wrecked the kitchen.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    It's not easy for me to reconcile that with what you wrote here.

  2. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    The only post I can trust in that thread is ems's, Rover.

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/sit Definition#1.
    If the above definition is correct, I think 'sit' can refer to 'a seated position', but I am not a teacher.

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    Matthew, "sit" is a verb it cannot refer to a position, only to an action.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  5. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    He sat on the sofa throughout the long film.
    She sat on the sofa while the cat wrecked the kitchen.

    Both of those sentences seem odd to me, ems.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    I can tell that these sentences sound odd to other native speakers and I'm surprised by that. For me "I sat on the sofa throughout the film" and "I sat [down] on the sofa before the film started" give two different impressions. The first describes the long-term seated position and the second the action of placing one's posterior on the cushions before settling in for the duration of the film.

    A: What did you do last night?
    B: Oh, I was SO lazy! I just sat on the sofa all evening and watched TV.

    What you would you say instead of "I sat on the sofa" in the above dialogue?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: What does this mean : They sat on the sofa.

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Matthew, "sit" is a verb it cannot refer to a position, only to an action.
    I found two dictionaries which say 'sit' means 'to be in a position in which the lower part of your body ...'. Does it refer to a seated position?

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