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I would like to know the difference in the meaning between "1" and "2".

1. He sat in a chair looking out the window.

2. He was sitting in a chair looking out the window.
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1 is a past simple sentence. - Refers to a particular point in time

2. is a past continuous sentence. Here he was sat before and during (possibly after) the point of time. Therefore he sat there for some time is implied.
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Wowenglish1. He sat in a chair looking out the window.

2. He was sitting in a chair looking out the window.
These are the possible meanings:
1a. He was in a sitting position (in a particular chair) (for some duration of time).
1b. He made the movement of becoming seated (all at once as a single action). He was standing at first, but he performed the action of moving into the sitting position (in a particular chair).
2a. [The same as 1a.]
2b. [This sentence cannot mean the same thing as 1b means.]

So 1 can be used for two different meanings. 2 can be used for only one meaning.

CJ
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Comments  
past continous also suggests that something happened while he was sititng there.

He was sitting in the chair looking out the window when the phone rang.
 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
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