Lesson Tutor: Using sit or set… Does it Matter? Our basic grammar series continues.

Sit or Set – Does it Matter?
by Elaine Ernst Schneider

SIT – To sit is an act that can be attributed to the subject. To sit means to take a resting position. There is no object of this verb, as the subject is doing the action without a receiver of the action.
Conjugation of SIT: 

I sit today. (present tense)

The money sat there yesterday. (past tense)

Sarah will sit there tomorrow. (future tense)

The book has sat here many times before. (use perfect tense with have, had, has)
SET – Set must have a direct object. To set means to place something in a special or certain position. One sets something down. One sets something right. (Hint: substitute “put.” If “put” works, then “set” is also correct.)
Conjugation of SET :

I set the book down. (present tense)

I set it down yesterday. (past tense)

I will set it down again tomorrow. (future tense)

I have set it here many times before. (use perfect tense

with have, had, has)
Exercise for All Grade Levels:

Choose the sit or set for each of the blanks below. Be sure to use the correct tense.

  1. Have you _____ the alarm clock for tomorrow?
  2. How long did he _____ there?
  3. I don’t know how long he had ______ there.
  4. He picked up the wounded bird and _____ it gently on the table.
  5. She _____ her sewing aside and went to the door.
  6. Are you going to _____ there all day?
  7. Where shall we ______?
  8. Linda _____ her coat on the couch.
  9. ______ the packages on the front porch by the door.
  10. He decided to just _____ around the house all summer.
  11. Someone _____ the dictionary on my glasses.
  12. The money _____ there all day in plain sight.
  13. She had _____ the book on the ground under the tree.
  14. Ginny _____ down on a beach towel.
  15. I always ______ near the door.
  16. Dr. Javier _____ my brother’s arm when he broke it.
  17. The two teenagers _____ in the sun all day.
  18. Chris may ____ a new record in the race today.
  19. Just _____ right here until they call your name.
  20. Sandy, please _______ the table.

Additional Exercise for Upper Grades:

Direct Objects and Set: Go back and find the direct objects (if any) in each sentence. If the verb choice has a direct object, then it should be “set.” The verb “sit” does not take an object.

(CUT HERE)—————————————————————————————————-


  1. set
  2. sit
  3. sat
  4. set
  5. set
  6. sit
  7. sit
  8. set
  9. Set
  10. sit
  11. set
  12. sat
  13. set
  14. sat
  15. sit (or sat)
  16. set
  17. sat
  18. set
  19. sit
  20. set

Answers for Direct Object Lesson:

    1. clock
    2. it
    3. sewing
    4. coat
    5. packages
    6. dictionary
    7. book
    8. arm
    9. record

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