Can anyone tell me why it is not correct English to say "He has been sat on the table all day" as opposed to "He has been sitting at the table all day"
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The continuous (or progressive) verb forms in English are constructed with the present participle (-ing form), not the past participle (-ed form) of the verb.

In your example, sat is an irregular verb, so its past participle does not end in -ed. Nevertheless, sat is indeed its past participle, so cannot be used in this active progressive sentence.

Of course, if this sentence were considered passive (which it is not, since you have also given us the correct equivalent), then sat would be possible-- but such a sentence would no longer be progressive:

The little boy has been sat at the table by his father and is not permitted to leave it until his plate is clean as a whistle.

(I presume that you meant to write at rather than on in your original?)
AnonymousCan anyone tell me why it is not correct English to say "He has been sat on the table all day" as opposed to "He has been sitting at the table all day"
Dear Anonymous,

I have observed that English people may say «was sat» in place of «was sitting». It appears to be a northern English idiom. In my opinion, it is used for humorous effect by southern English persons. It is perhaps no longer amusing.

Kind regards, Emotion: smile

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I agree that was sat (when not passive) is a colloquial expression and should be avoided in formal situations. It is interesting to note that in Spanish when talking about sitting and other bodily positions it is necessary to use the past participle - the use of the present participle would suggest that you are actually in the process of sitting. Perhaps this thought is behind the use of the past participle in the colloquial expression.
The 'humour' in 'I was sat there' seems to reside in the thought of 'being plonked there', like a small child.

It is annoying when southern folk say it, though. Makes you want to slap a few heads.

Is it in fact a northern expression? I am sure people in the south (I am from Brighton and you cannnot get any more south than that) use the expression. It may just be though that I have heard it a lot on TV.
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That's true. Maybe it just sounds northern.

I think the "I was sat" may have originated with a very popular TV commedienne who some years ago would fold her arms and push them under her bosom and commence her next joke with "I was sat sitting..." or "I was stood standing.." which immediately had the audience falling about laughing before she told her joke.
Some tv comedians have certainly milked the phrase. I think Victoria Wood used to say it a lot; and perhaps still does. (Or was that who you were thinking of, Anon?)

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